Happily Ever Afterby Joy Bernard | 07.03.16
Our very first pick for the Telavivian Cinema is Happily Ever After, an animated, whimsical and thrilling journey into the future of a young and in love couple who move in together for the first time.
Soon enough, the two lovers are drawn into the rat race of wedding, children, work and the whole package. While they desperately try to keep up with the hectic pace of life, they find that the real challenge is to stick to each other throughout.
We sat down with filmmaker Yonni Aroussi to learn more about the creative process that led to the making of this charming film.
Hi Yonni, please introduce yourself to the readers of Telavivian.
I was born and raised in Jerusalem, where I lived until I turned 27. In between, I spent one year in Tel Aviv and another in New York. In the past decade, Tel Aviv is the city I’ve been calling home. I learned animation at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, where I earned my B.F.A. at the Screen-Based Arts Department.”
How did your film come about and who’s your partner in this creation?
I created this film with Ben Genislaw as my final project at Bezalel, even though we only completed the work on it only a few years after we graduated.
We’re all familiar with the regular trajectory of cohabitation, marriage, buying a house together, the monthly mortgage payments. This trajectory also includes potbellies, receding hairlines and a gradual loss of romance. The daily grind in every relationship is normally something people talk about with their friends or simply repress. How did you decide to make it the focal point of your creation and what was the inspiration for it?
For a while, Ben and I played around with the idea of making a film that will deal with the following question: ‘If you could get a sneak peek into your own future, would you change the decisions you made in the past?’.
While I was studying in Bezalel, I supported myself by working as an illustrator for a Jerusalem-based culture magazine called “Asimon” (the magazine no longer exists). I used to make the illustrations for a column written by my friend, Omri Givon (the creator and director of TV series Bnei Aruba [hostages in Hebrew, i.e.] ).
One of his columns was a love letter written by a man to his new lover on the day they moved in together. The letter contained all the fears and difficulties the young couple might encounter along the road. The column was extremely moving, especially for a crybaby such as myself, and it became the base for the idea that one day turned into “Happily Ever After.”
What was your work process like, once you got started?
The work process was rather challenging, considering that the two of us had little to no experience in 3D animation work. In the first intense year of work we tried to crack down how we would convey 60 years of partnership in a 6-minute-long film. We wanted it to show the drama and the conflicts that every relationship is characterized by, as well as the strong emotions in this love story. It was actually much more challenging than what we thought it would be. We worked at an underground studio where we drew hundreds, if not thousands of storyboards. We edited different versions, we threw away entire scenes (that were actually very funny) in order to get to the ultimate version.The soundtrack was composed by Rea Meir (from Israel) and Stefan Maria Schnieder (the renowned German composer). The film was produced with the support of the Snunit Foundation and Jungle Studios.
Why did you decide to leave the viewers with a happy ending? What kind of experience did you want them to walk away with?
So apparently what you interpreted as a happy end is not the consensus at all! I get a lot of different interpretations from different viewers and to me, that’s great. I prefer not to give my own interpretation- the viewer’s experience is what really counts. We wanted people to feel like they’re joining a fast-paced journey, kind of like going on a rollercoaster. We also hoped that they would all ask themselves the same question, because the film’s subject is very relatable and everyone can put themselves in the protagonists shoes.
What are you working on now? What are your creative plans for the future?
Today I’m developing an animation series with my friend Rotem Shamir. I’m also working as an art director and a 3-D artist at a gambling software development company.
Watch ‘Happily Ever After’ on Telavivian Cinema.
Telavivian Cinema is a project which will unveil work of cinematic art crafted by local directors.
From animation to drama to comedy, Telavivian short films will be streamed weekly and accompanied by our conversations with the their talented makers. Make sure you stay tuned for the screenings, as the films featured in the magazine will change on a weekly basis.
Telavivian Cinema is curated by Joy Bernard.