“Travel far enough, you meet yourself,” a quote from Cloud Atlas, has become the manbhtra of visionary filmmaker Roy Shellef. Visionary is a term used frequently but in this canbse it is truly apt.
“I like to tell those stories. Stories about love (but what is love without hate or rejection), stories about trust (but what is trust without being stabbed in the back?), stories about individuals (what are individuals without a society and vise versa). Stories that will connect you to flawed and underdog characters who believe they are alone in the world but manage to overcome the obstacles. I believe as an artist you are a traveler and as you travel you meet different kinds of yourself. Every single time you tell a story, it reflects and is inspired by your previous journeys.”
Roy Shellef paints compelling pictures with the camera lens. He enjoys finding the enigmatic image in the everyday. He has taken the story of a nervous man out on a date and turned it into a stunning Felliniesque film called Thank You; he handed an unapologetic view of what failure can do to the common man in Call Me Devil and he offered up a terrifying look at the world had Covid-19 triumphed in Alone. He also recently produced a music video featuring Jaime Foxx by Solomun. This, too, offered a dreamlike narrative.
Roy is sought-after in the American film industry with numerous projectrs already underway. InD wanted to speak with him avouyt his burgeoing career before while he still has the time!
As a director, do you have a certain mission or vision? Do you have a particular
kind of film you like to do?
As a director and producer, I truly believe that we should tell the stories that we want to see. Tell the stories that make us who we are. Japanese anime and culture inspires me a lot. I love the way they show us the world
and enhance the emotions through the composition of the characters on screen. The expressions and the music. A culture so rich in wisdom, honor and fantasy – is a world I try to bring to my films. The way they hit your emotional cords is extraordinary. From “Death Note” to “Attack On Titan”, “Tokyo Ghoul”, “Demon Slayer”, “Paprika”, “Princess Mononoke” and so on… These are all shows and movies that give us different takes on society mixed with philosophical and psychological aspects that take us to other places in our mind. The kind of films that I want to do are films that combine the Anime cinematography and composition with the traditional western cinematography. There is so much to explore! We have the technology and the people, why not trying something new? With this combination I would like to show the emotional range of a character. Where being compassionate is not a sin and does not make you weak. Where anger and arrogance is not a foul word or behavior – but only a tool to justify your actions (whether its good or not, you’ll be the judge of it). Cause this is what films are all about.
Make YOU, the audience, think “How would I behave in this situation?” Or the million dollar question “What If?” These are the kinds of films I want to do.
What event in your life made you make the decision to join the entertainment
community of the United States?
For many years I knew that I didn’t like the 9-5 work environment. I was not made for it due to my outgoing, extraverted personality. Therefore I was always drawn in by the night life (bars, clubs, festivals and so on) and I knew I wanted to be a part of something that made me feel a rush and where I constantly got to meet new people.
Besides this lifestyle in Tel Aviv, going to the movies and seeing an epic battle or an incredible emotional moment on the big screen, was something that made me feel more. The world building, the characters, the stories – they all made me feel like I was born to do more. In college I realized this is what I want to do! I wanted to be a
filmmaker after meeting a group of extraordinarily talented people. Changing my degree from business to communication (a week before the beginning of the school year) changed my life completely and I am grateful for making this decision and to the people I met who became my friends for life. I want to work with the best and therefore I need to be where all the professionals live. Hollywood was always the source for all the wonderful films and stories we’ve seen for a 100 years and you know what they say; To be the best you have to work with the
best. I want to grow, learn, create and live in a place where I can work with talented people who breathe the industry. As much as the industry in Israel is blooming, the opportunities and the market is still way bigger here in the Untied States.
What are some of the obstacles you are facing now?
Let’s start with the creative process – when you want to produce a film or any kind of visual content, you have an image in your head which you want to bring to life. That image sometimes won’t work and that usually has nothing to do with you. Creative results cannot be achieved by one individual, it’s all about collaboration. You need to find the right people for the right project who share your enthusiasm and passion for it in order to bring your ideas to life. SO MANY STORIES!
As a producer, I want to bring to life as many stories as I can. There are so many great projects waiting to be produced and unfortunately, I can’t do them all. This is where I need to pick my projects carefully so I can give them my full attention. As someone who is always looking for the next mountain to climb this can be an obstacle. I am working on it and learning that everything will come at the right time.
What are you working on now and what’s next?
I am very excited for my upcoming projects as a producer and director! There are actually many of them and I am looking forward to sharing them with you. The projects I am currently working on are three short films with wonderful stories.
As a producer:
An Assassin Story: When a world class assassin has a crisis of faith and a panic attack during a job he must decide whether to follow through or leave his old life behind and protect his mark. It’ll be a fun, comedic but also dramatic story on how a person can sometimes change(?). Filming starts 06/22/2021.
See You At Sunrise: Charlie, a young boy goes on a road trip with his terminal ill mother. A wonderful coming of age story. This movie has been apart of my life for some time now and I can’t wait to share this beautiful journey with you all. Filming starts 06/05/2021.
As a director:
On The Line: Kate realizes she is in an unstable relationship with John, a soldier in the US army. As she walks into his house and tries to fix it one last time, he tells her he is going to war. This is a story that is based on previous relationships and moments that happened to me personally. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and I want the audience to ask themselves; “What would I do, if I was in their shoes”? Filming starts 05/29/2021
As a producer:
April 29, 1992: A shopkeeper must save his son from an angry mob during the 1992 L.A. uprising after the Rodney King verdict. This movie is so relevant today that it hurts. It hurts to see that nothing has changed
and we are still living in a world in which we cannot accept one another! We need to make some changes and really look at each other as people. This movie is going to be massive and will touch all the sensitive topics that we deal with as a society today. It is a studio feature film that I am blessed and honored to be apart of. Production starts in August here in LA.
As a director
My girlfriend, Chantal Casutt, and I are currently writing a feature called “Yuna.” It is a story about how a utopian society, where demons and humans lived together, crumbled into a civil war. The ones most hurt by this were the ones in the middle – the hybrids. It follows Yuna, a half demon girl in a post war world, seeking the truth about how the war began and trying to survive a terrible and cruel reality. I am also writing a limited series about the mystical part of Feudal Japan called “RONIN.” Influenced by Japanese culture, did I mention it?
This is it for now. Hope to get to work on more projects soon!