Shirly Berkovitz, Israel, 2013, 52’
Director: Shirly Berkovitz
Screenplay: Shirly Berkovitz
Editing: Daniel Sivan, Noam Pinchas
Sound: Shirly Berkovitz
Producers : Shirly Berkovitz, Noam Pinchas
Production: Berkovitz Films, Laughing Buddha Films
This is the incredible story of Or, a 22-year-old Israeli man secretly saving for sex reassignment surgery in Thailand. Or’s own home videos make up the first part of the film, which starts with him attempting to persuade his parents to lend him $12,000, ostensibly so he can study at Oxford. Struck by loneliness and a terrible sense of guilt, Or counts the days until his departure from Tel Aviv. The second section of the film starts with the flight to Bangkok, where director Shirly Berkovitz captures Or’s first steps in her new life as a woman. We see her recovering from the operation, adopting a new identity, talking with fellow transgender people at an emotional outing to a karaoke bar. Back in Tel Aviv, she must face her family and the price of seeking her true identity. “I’m about to show myself as the new me, as the female me. And it’s gonna be tough,” she says. This is an exciting tale about fear, self-doubt, willpower, and the importance of family and being able to be who you are.
About the Author:
Shirly Berkovitz was born in 1977 in Tel Aviv, Israel. After graduating film studies at the Beit Berl Arts College she directed and produced her first short film BLOCKED (2004) which was featured at the Haifa Int’l Film Festival. Her first feature documentary 100% (2005) was screened at the Docaviv- Documentary Film Festival, Haifa Cinematheque as part of the social equality project and was broadcasted in the Israeli Channel 2. In 2009 she released THE WAY UP, which was screened at the Docaviv Film Festival, won an Honorable Mention at the TLVFest GLBT Film Festival, broadcasted in Channel Yes Docu and is nominated to the 2010 Israeli Academy awards. These days Shirly is working on a new documentary called LIES IN THE CLOSET, which is funded by Channel Yes Docu and tells the story of an Israeli transvestite. Shirly is presently working as an editor and director of independent projects, as well as a tutor and facilitator of media and film youth groups and seminars.