Cannes Shorts Competition Filmmaker Dekel Berenson Sets Feature Debut (EXCLUSIVE)

Stewart Clarke

Writer-director Dekel Berenson has set his first feature, “Adva.” Berenson is at Cannes with “Anna,” which is garnering buzz and plays in the Short Film Competition at the festival.

“Adva” will go into production next April. The film is about a Adva, a 19-year-old woman in Tel Aviv who works as a drill instructor in the Israeli army. The film follows her as she deals with the impact of a date rape. Finding it hard to go on with her life, she considers her place in society and her role in training young men in the military.

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“I think that while the story takes place in Israel, it confronts an issue that is present all over the world,” Berenson told Variety. The movie was inspired by the experience of a friend of his. “Upon hearing her account of the events I Instantly decided to transform her story into a film,” he said.

“Anna” is Berenson’s second short after “Ashmina.” The Israeli-born filmmaker was planning five shorts based on his experiences in different parts of the world, but after “Anna” was selected for Cannes, he decided to make the third installment of the anthology series a full-fledged feature.

“Anna” follows the titular single mother, living in conflict-ravaged eastern Ukraine. Lured by a radio advertisement, she goes to a party with a group of American men who are touring the country, searching for love.

“Anna” is a U.K.-Israel-Ukraine co-production between Merlin Merton and Greer Ellison’s Blue Shadows, Berenson’s 168 Wardour Filmworks and Olga Beskhmelnytsina’s ESSE Prods. House. The same team are coming together for “Adva” and are in Cannes talking to other prospective co-production partners.

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