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An Interview with Gev Miron, Director of Jacob the Baker

by Mike Haberfelner

January 2024

Films directed by Gev Miron on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Jacob the Baker - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Jacob the Baker tells the story of a young reporter who is assigned to interview Noah benShea [Noah benShea interview - click here], the author of the bestselling book series Jacob the Baker. During her interview she discovers the incredible story of how Jacob, a fictional character, is providing help to people around the world.

 

How did the project fall together in the first place, and how did you get involved with it?

 

In May of 2020 I received a phone call from a dear friend of mine, Wendy Kout, who is a very accomplished screenwriter and playwright. She had just watched a project I directed for the United Nations, and told me that I should speak to her friend Noah who is the author of a bestselling book series, and is looking to turn his books into a film. After an initial phone call Noah and I decided to meet. During our meeting, he told me that after the books were published he began receiving letters from people from around the world, who were inspired by Jacob and wanted to reach out to him with their own struggles. Of course, they couldnít write to a fictional character, so they sent their letters to Noah, who replied to them as Jacob, and has done so for many years since. I thought that story was what needed to be made into a film.

 

You and Wendy Kout wrote Jacob the Baker together with the very subject of your movie, Noah benShea - so what was the writing process actually like, and other than Noah and his stories, what were your sources of inspiration when writing Jacob the Baker?

 

Just a few months before I got involved, Noah had a stage performance as Jacob the Baker that was filmed to potentially become a TV special. That 90 minute stage show was the foundation of our story, and it is in fact what you see on the screen when Noah is on stage, for the most part. Other than that, Noah had given us access to years of his wisdom through his books, quotes, and unpublished writings. From there we created the international storylines, inspired by letters that Noah had received. We decided to create one main storyline that would involve a reporter who would be taking the same journey as the audience, and will be guiding them through the film.

 

What can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

From the beginning it was pretty clear to me that this is not a traditional film. The way we treated it was very different, and I knew that Iíd need to think of how to get this done in a way that wonít be in the way of the story. I didnít want to make a spectacle out of it, although it was tempting to go in that route with the international scope of the film, but I felt that this could take away from the story weíre trying to tell. Then the focus became on trying to make something that could feel real and authentic inside of a narrative world. This was the direction I gave to all our department heads and teams, to think of this as something that could feel somewhat of a documentary, and rather than try to perfect every shot, let things unfold, and capture things as they happened in the moment. The same was true to working with our cast, and giving them the freedom to explore and sometimes just improv if the moment feels right.

 

As Noah benShea plays himself in Jacob the Baker, what was directing him like?

 

As he says in the film, Noah isnít acting, heís not reading his lines, he lives in the moment and he is Jacob in many ways. On our first day on set with Noah, it became clear that ďanother takeĒ isnít something that Noah can do. He would always go off script (in the best way possible), and that made it almost impossible to get two identical takes with him. So a decision was made to always have at least two cameras on him so that weíll have multiple angles. More than it was a challenge for me to direct him, it was a challenge for the actors who were on camera with him to keep up with his improv, and be able to react differently in every take. I think that working like that helped us make something that felt honest and real, because in many ways it was. Dara Emery, who plays the reporter, is a fantastic actress and was able to keep up with Noah as he went off script. She really listened to him, and her reactions were genuine. Itís not easy for actors to play opposite non-actors and be in the moment, but I think both Dara and Kenny Johnston who plays the driver really pulled it off.

 

What can you tell us about the rest of Jacob the Baker's cast, and why exactly these people?

 

We knew from the beginning that we wanted a variety of people who represent different cultures and are a true international cast. When we decided where weíd shoot the different storylines, we began casting in those countries, and found our actors. I think that each of them brought something very unique to the film, and in their own way made Jacob the Baker an international experience that lets the viewer take in the different cultures, languages, and at the same time, feels very universal and close to home.

 

Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!

 

Since we shot most of the film in the beginning of 2021 at the height of the pandemic, it was a very challenging shoot. For all the international storylines we had local crews on the ground, and I directed remotely. Summer Yang, our producer who worked alongside Noah, was instrumental in making this work. Together with our cinematographer Omer Lotan, I watched dailies, gave notes, and thatís how we accomplished the international shoots. We had great teams that we trusted with our vision, and through a lot of preparation we were able to get what we needed. We decided to shoot the international stories first, and only once we had these done, shoot the main storyline in LA. That way if we needed to make any adjustments to the script to make the storylines work, we were able to do so. For the main unit shoot in LA, we also had to make adjustments to work around the pandemic guidelines and make sure we keep everyone safe. So we had smaller crews, but in a way, it also felt more intimate, and that I think contributed also to the overall dynamic on set, and I think it shows in the film.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Jacob the Baker?

 

I really didnít know what to expect in that regard. In the initial screenings we had, people were really emotional, but I had no idea if that would translate to the general audience or the critics. It is a different film in many ways, and with anything thatís different you can always expect that some people will like it and some people wonít. But after the film came out, Iíve seen overwhelming love and support for the film from both the audience and critics, and thatís both unexpected and great!

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Iím currently developing a number of projects, all very different from Jacob the Baker. To be honest, if youíd asked me years ago what my first feature film would be like, Iíd never say it would be anything like Jacob the Baker. But as we all know that some of the best things in life are the most unexpected things, and in that regard Jacob the Baker was such a nice surprise. My next project would probably be something much different, and Iím excited to see which one it would be.

 

What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

I walked onto a film set when I was five or six years old, and that was it. I came home and announced that I want to be a filmmaker. Of course, it took a lot of work and years of getting there, but I never stopped since that day. I got formal training in the high school I went to which was focused on arts and sciences, and I had fantastic teachers along the way. But the real training for me was working in the industry and being on set, learning as I go. I also had some great mentors along the way who helped me so much, and supported me throughout the journey.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Jacob the Baker?

 

I started my career in commercials, and after a while decided to get into other things and learn as much as I could. So I expanded my world and did everything from shorts to documentaries, music videos, and even virtual reality for a while. Jacob the Baker is my first narrative feature and in so many ways a culmination of everything I had done so far. A lot of the documentary experience I had came in handy, and the teams I had worked with previously on other projects came on board and helped us on Jacob the Baker.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

To me, films are the best art form there is, and I use this medium to bring my ideas and stories to life. I think that being a director requires knowledge of all aspects of filmmaking, so I did almost every job to have an understanding of what it takes to get something done. I see myself in many ways as a conductor, who conducts the orchestra that is the team Iím working with in front and behind the camera. I plan a lot, but Iím always ready to go on set and change my plans because I find something that works better. For me, once I know where I want the story to go, Iíll find a way to get there, even if itís not what I initially planned for.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

Many, and for different reasons, and they also change. But consistently Iíve been really inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcok, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, and David Fincher.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Too many to count, and I have a few from each decade that I feel represent a different era in cinema. I will say Iím very attracted to films that make you think a lot, that in some way break the conventions, bring something new. I also love films that use all the tools in the toolbox to tell a story, and are examples of the art of filmmaking from great cinematography to production design, editing, music. But of course they all start with a great script. The ones that I feel that I go back to a lot when thinking of my own work are: Inception, Fight Club, and Vertigo. I know, very different from Jacob the Baker.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

I think all films have something to offer, I try not to hate movies. Also because I know how much work it took to get them made, and that someone really poured their heart into them.

 

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

 

Feeling lucky?
Want to
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The links below
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just there!!!

Find Gev Miron
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports?
Find Gev Miron here ...

Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

jacobthebaker.com, gevmiron.com, @jacobthebaker1, @gevmiron

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

I want to add that without our fantastic teams here in LA and around the world none of this wouldíve been possible. As a director, I always feel that I have the responsibility to remind people how many people work very hard to get a film made, and that especially with independent films, a lot of them do it really because they love it, and they donít get a big paycheck. So I really want to thank all of them for making this film possible, and especially Sharon Farber who I havenít had a chance to mention, but wrote the incredible score for our film and co-wrote the theme song with Noah. I also know that some people who might be reading this want to become filmmakers themselves, so I just want to say to them: Just do it! Donít give up, and donít stop! Itís a hard and sometimes long journey, but if this is really what you want to do, just do it!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

Amazon

Amazon UK

Vimeo

 

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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