Hadas Ben Aroya

Photo by Sandra Gomez

Photo by Sandra Gomez

“Western society teaches young people that they are special little unicorns. Well, I’m not.”

Hadas Ben Aroya is a young Israeli writer-director. Born in 1988, she graduated from the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University. During her studies, she wrote and directed the short film SEX DOLL (2013). It is a very colorful coming-of-age film about a young girl, Tamar, who experiences a surprising sexual awakening. In an attempt to realize her new-found passions, she gets lost between her world of barbie dolls and games to the adult world. When questioned about the unique aesthetics of the short film, Hadas explained in an interview: „I wanted to disconnect Tamar from any context and create this surrealistic and colorful world that was reminiscent of a doll’s house where Tamar enters all of these comic situations. I knew that this would make for a sharper and more intense transition into the realistic and cruel world; plot-wise and as far as the cinematic expression goes.”

Hadas’ feature film debut, PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT ME (2016), premiered this year at the Locarno Film Festival, where it played in the Signs of Life section. The film is inspired by the feeling that “Western society teaches young people that they are special little unicorns.” But Hadas does not feel that special. So she made a film about her “friends and their non-unicorn lives”, “what unites and defines us.” The protagonist of the film, a young girl named Joy, is played by Hadas herself. Joy is a total mess: she cannot let go of her ex-boyfriend, has a lot of dissatisfactory casual sex, and enters a strange relationship wit a free-willed intellectual who seems almost as lost as her. The movie deals with urban loneliness within the Y generation: To yearn for intimacy and at the same time being afraid of it; to have endless conversations without revealing anything authentic. The world sales rights of the film have been acquired by the London-based arthouse sales agency Film Republic. It’s a promising start for a great festival and cinematic run.

At the moment, Hadas is writing two new scripts and edits videos for a living. We are very pleased to show her short film SEX DOLL at the ZF MASTER CLASS screenings.

Writer, Director (IL)

2016 PEOPLE THAT ARE NOT ME (Feature Fiction)
2013 SEX DOLL (Feature Short)