Sunday , May 28 2023

Make your story personally


Ofir Raul Graizer Cakemaker

Photos of Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

This story about "The Cakemaker" first appeared in TheWrap's Oscar magazine's foreign language problem.

Ofir Raul Graizer was a film student when she first heard about the Israeli bakery owner and the Israeli Ophir Awards winner "The Cakemaker" about the Germans hiding the secrets of her husband.

This film is the entry of Israel in the Oscar-winning Best Foreign Language Film Contest of the Year, and this interview was done by TheWrap in a series of conversations with the director of a foreign competitor.

This story comes from personal experience.
OFIR RAUL GRAIZER: Yes. It is not mine, but I lived twice as long ago – 10 years, 12 years ago. He was a highly respected workplace with his wife and three children and was a museum manager in Italy. We were friends, and I knew he lived twice as long and was with a man.

After not having contacted him for a long time, I received an email from his wife that he was dead. I do not know exactly what happened, but she was convinced of a ton of emails I learned about double life. I was shocked by this story. This woman, her husband is dead. And it is a tremendous loss, and she found out that he lied to her and manipulated her. So what do they say about their relationship?

I thought a lot about how I could take this story and make it my first feature film. After studying, I spent 9 years in Berlin for a project. One day I was on a bus and saw this guy riding a bicycle. Then immediately all the stories came to me. All of it. I had a synopsis in two days.

I had a basic idea about her and her lover, death and discovery, and I put my life in it. Set in Jerusalem and Berlin. I have love for food and love for baking. My father is religious and my mother is secular. So I grew up between these two worlds. I am gay and I was out of the closet when I was 16 years old. So I listened to my friend's story and his widow and I put my life in it.

What was the biggest challenge in making this movie?
It was mostly funded. All the challenges came from him. I received a little money like $ 70,000 from a movie fund, but this condition was that we had to collect another $ 300,000 or $ 400,000 to get this $ 70,000. We have not been able to collect more in six years. We received 19 rejection letters from the Film Fund of Israel, Germany and France.

And eventually we went back to the first movie fund, and they signed a contract to give us $ 7,000. We will shoot with this money. We were sure we could do it. We collected another $ 15,000, and I rented the house and we shot it in 20 days. After a week of filming, I was hurt for the first time, and on the basis of that hurt, we raised another $ 90,000 for post production.

It took 8 years to make a movie, but all of the time, the script was changed, changed, and changed. I tried to cut the character, make it more condensed and easier to shoot. But in the end, what I realized when I saw the final cut is that it is very similar to the first synopsis I wrote on the bus.

For more information about TheWrap's foreign language issues, click here.

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