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The 48th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival takes place Thursday, September 7—17, 2023 in Canada's most vibrant and exciting metropolis, it has become one of the most important film events on the festival calendar.

Showcasing more than 300 films and hosting industryites from around the world, Toronto can "make or break" films looking for international distribution and a chance at Oscar gold. From glitzy red carpet premieres to challenging art films to cutting edge new media, the Festival offers something for every taste.

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TIFF 2023 - Bad Boy reviewed

BAD BOY

TIFF 2023

 

Director Hagar Ben-Asher and producer/writer” Ron Leshem

By Emmanuel Itier

BAD BOY will, no doubt, rock TIFF this year so it is such an intense new series from Israel. This show was created by the original creators of ‘Euphoria’ and it’s the tale of a troubled teen sent to a brutal juvenile detention facility, and how his humor and talent is going to save him from this horrible fate. It’s a series full of humanity, of compassion and of laughs. We had a little conversation with ‘Bad Boy’ director and main writer/producer, let’s roll:

 

Q: how did this show happen and what was the idea behind; what were you trying to achieve with this series?

 

Ron: It goes back to the time when I was a journalist, and I had an assignment to write an article about a juvenile prison. This experience never left me, and I had to figure out a way to report on this journey. It touched me in so many ways and I wanted to figure out a show such as this one. It was hard to ponder the heartwarming aspect of such story and the dark side of it. We found out that one of the boys who had been locked there became a famous stand-up comedian. This was the twist we needed to make this show happen. Suddenly we had a show where you see this dark environment seen through the eyes of humor, through the eyes of this kid. We needed the perfect director and when Hagar agreed to jump on board, we knew we had something solid.

 

Hagar: I was so intrigued by the idea of a young boy in prison becoming a stand-up comedian. I couldn’t pass on such a unique opportunity. Just to hear the real story behind this show blew my mind. On top of this, I love prisons and I love boys, so this was the perfect combination for me to be part of this adventure. And I love humor. I had no choice but to direct this show in Israel. Also, I wanted to work with Ron for a while. This was the special occasion I could not be part of. Also, this show makes so many statements on an emotional level or a political one. It’s such a provocative program that will not let you unsensitive about what you will watch.

 

Q: Tell me about the main challenges making this show?

 

Hagar: Casting was the biggest challenge. It was so tough to find a young boy who had not acted before and who could be funny and dramatic at the same time. It turned out that 95% of the boys we casted were not actor before coming on board. We found them, mainly, in shitty boarding school in Israel! Also, we had to put these kids in 45 days shooting schedule and this was truly challenging as they had never experienced such a thing. It was a big challenge to do this series but such a gift to be able to bring to life such an intense series.

 

Ron: It’s true that Hagar had to see hundreds of kids before picking up the ones you see in our series!

 

Q: What is this show truly about, tell me about the themes explored?

 

Hagar:  It’s about the judicial system in any case. But it’s also about the melting pot of Israel. And what it is about being a kid in a tough system; these are the main “political” themes of our show. For me, it’s really about a kid who can’t find his place in society. He doesn’t want to be home, to be funny and he doesn’t want to be in prison. This kid is a misfit. He can only survive life with humor. When Life is shitty, I want to believe you can rely on your sense of humor to save yourself.

 

Q: Being at Tiff, what does it mean to you? Any expectation?

 

Ron: We hope the audience embrace our show. Initially we were not sure if we wanted to shoot in English or in Hebrew. But we went with the Hebrew language. We now hope the show will travel around the world and that the audience will be able to experience our series.

 

Hagar: TIFF is so festive despite the strike. This is such a joyful place. This is a meaningful festival, and we are so happy to be here.

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Laurie Gordon Animaze International Film Festival Le Miaff!
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