Israeli Roy Raz entered the world of directing a mere two-and-a-half-years ago with a video he shot for his Tel Aviv nightclub. After some viral noise following its release, he decided to hang up his producer’s boots and concentrate on directing… And what a result; recently nominated as ‘best new director’ at the UK Music Video Awards, his ‘Lonely Lisa’ video for Mylene Farmer won ‘best French music video of 2011’. Not too shabby for such a short amount of time within the mysteries of filmmaking. After a mild obsession with Raz’s new ‘Disintegration’ video for Monarchy, LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with the director to find out more.
LBB> You’re based in Tel Aviv – what is the city like to live and work in as a director? What is the creative scene like?
RR> I’m actually based in Tel Aviv and London, but the Israeli city is an amazing place to live and create in. It’s full of extremely talented people and is almost always hot, which is a big plus! Nothing quite beats writing scripts and treatments on the beach.
LBB> Where did you grow up and what kind of child were you?
RR> I was the clichéd nerdy kid who was never far from his old Sony camera. Growing up in a small city in Israel meant that there was not a lot to do besides picking fights and going to the local cinema.
I was totally infatuated by films and, as such, my second home was the old VHS rental library. Oh, the memories! That’s not to mention the horrific ‘Name of the Rose’ hair-do that I had back then, but let’s leave that for another time…
LBB> Can you tell me about your path into filmmaking? How long have you been doing it and why were you drawn to it?
RR> I was always drawn to filmmaking; it was a path that I always knew I’d take. At an early age I was also interested in acting, but before long I realised that my real passion was cinema. That’s what I ended up studying at Tel Aviv University. Soon after I finished that, I actually began producing commercials, not directing, and in that process I worked at McCann Erickson for two years.
About two-and-a-half years ago I took the plunge into directing with a video that I shot for a nightclub that I own in Tel Aviv. It caused a bit of a stir, virally, so I decided to leave the producer suit at home and focus solely on directing.
LBB> Some of your work has an air of dark eroticism about it. Why is this a subject that you enjoy to explore when filmmaking? What is the inspiration behind it?
RR> I guess I’m deeply inspired by a cinematic world that is not entirely real and also a bit fantastic. The combination of beauty and gore is a contrast that I also really enjoy diving into. I’m attracted towards subjects and images that have the potential to start a debate and, hopefully, move myself and other people. Sexuality is definitely one of those.
LBB> Your latest film, ‘Disintegration’ for Monarchy and Dita Von Teese – which I love, both song and video! - has received amazing feedback online. Can you elaborate on the story you aimed to portray with it?
RR> ‘Disintegration’ was one of the easiest scripts for me to write. I’d listened to the track and I already knew Dita’s imagery and the world she usually conveys, so it didn't take long for the script to be written and the storyboard to be drawn up.
I didn't want to create a new image for Dita, and instead wanted to capture her as the strong, sexual woman that people perceive her as. Having said that, I also wanted to create a dystopian world where the trapped woman’s mind jumps between fantasy and realness, to the point where we’re not sure which is which.
LBB> ‘Disintegration’ is the second music video that you have shot for Monarchy, after 'I Won't Let Go'. Do you enjoy working with them?
RR> Firstly, I really enjoy their music, which makes my work so much easier. Even though their music can be described as electro or dance, it still maintains a strong emotional vibe. On top of that they always trust me. They never interfere with my work but always know what they want. A good combo.
LBB> You won Best French Video for your work on Mylene Farmer’s ‘Lonely Lisa’ in 2011. What does it mean to you to win awards such as that?
RR> It’s always nice to be acknowledged for the work and it usually opens doors. Obviously, it also means the videos and commercials will be watched by more people, which is always a creator’s wish. The politically correct answer that it’s enough to be nominated is not entirely true – it’s much nicer to win!
LBB> Which pieces of work are you most proud of and why?
RR> That’s hard to choose. The moment a project of mine is finished, I’m usually extremely critical of it and it takes me time to really love it again. Probably when I’m old, wise and grey, I’ll know how to answer that.
LBB> What does 2013 hold for Roy Raz?
RR> Hopefully good things. A few projects are in pre-production right now, so the months ahead look busy. There is one project in particular that I’m looking forward to, but sadly I can’t share anything about that right now. I had to end with a tease!
Roy Raz is currently unsigned - if you are interested in speaking to him, please contact Colette Crespin at email@example.com