The sights and sounds of Israel come alive in this unconventional travel video, thanks to bold editing and color-saturated cinematography. Filmmaker Matthew Brown talks about making This IsReal (the title is a play on words) in an interview below.
The Atlantic: Where did you travel? What inspired you to shoot the video?
Matthew Brown: I was a bit nervous to be making a video of Israel. It is a small country, but it has a spark in almost everything that people do or say about it. I knew the controversy within the country, as well as the external conflicts, so I knew it would be extremely touchy to make any sort of video of the country. I decided that I wanted to find the beauty of the people and places, neglecting the tension for once. I wanted to prove that there are so many beautiful people in that country, of all religions, cultures, regions. It was not hard to do, actually. The moment I arrived I was welcomed by every walk of life. The Jewish people's arms were wide open, and the Arab people always gave me a great big smile and welcomed me into great conversation. I felt a great warmth there.
I went to Israel back in the beginning of May. Luckily, my Portuguese friends knew the locals who helped us find the best places to shoot the authentic aspects, special events, etc. We went as far north as Akko, where we trekked through the unbelievably amazing old town there. We went as far south as Dimona. We went through the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and the beautiful little villages, vistas, and ruins in between. We went everywhere by car, except one day when we rode camels through the desert! That was one of the most memorable times of my life.
My favorite part to shoot was the scene where all the people are frozen still in time. It was actually that everyone was standing still in a moment of silence for the Holocaust victims. One of the locals told me that the entire country would stop in silence and everyone would look frozen, so I found one of the busiest intersections in Tel Aviv and stood in the middle of everyone, passing through them. I did get yelled at for moving during the moment of silence, but I think it was worth it to show the world how beautiful and eerie this amazing moment is.
How did you approach editing all the footage?
I found myself editing under terrible conditions. I got a kidney infection and a fever, and I only had enough energy to edit for an hour and then go back to sleep. After about a week I decided that I would start the video off with a certain cohesiveness, and certain structure, and then show the chaos of the country, the bustling beehive, the vibrant attitude of the people. The shots being all jumbled together are really how it felt to be there. There was always something astonishing to look at in every direction your eyes went. It was pretty much candy for any creative type.
What's next for you?
Next, I am working on a few music videos, and working with the artist Pretty Lights on a few projects, as well as trying to do more portraits of countries and cities. Eventually I would love to get enough money to make a short film that I have been wanting to do, but until then I will keep making art, experimenting, and keep evolving what I do. I am so in love with visual storytelling. I love being able to share the way I see the world, and I hope it will soon turn into something bigger. I am ready for it!
For more videos by Matthew Brown, check out his Vimeo channel.