Going for gold

Israeli film shortlisted for live action short Oscar

‘White Eye’ is Tomer Shushan’s debut film about migrant workers in Tel Aviv

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Israeli filmmaker Tomer Shushan’s debut short film “White Eye,” about migrant workers in Tel Aviv, has been shortlisted for an Oscar in the 93rd Academy Awards.

The 20-minute “White Eye” is one of ten films advancing in the Live Action Short Film category, out of 174 films that qualified. Members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch of the Academy Awards vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.

The list of ten shortlisted live action short films will be whittled down to five final nominees ahead of the April 25 Academy Awards ceremony.

“I’m in shock,” said Shushan.

Tomer Shushan whose debut film, ‘White Eye,’ is one of ten shortlisted films for the Live Action Short category in the 2021 Academy Awards (Courtesy Tomer Shushan)

“I really want to be a nominee,” said Shushan. “But I’m thrilled to have made it this far.”

Shushan’s short is based almost entirely on an event that happened to him. It tells the story of Omer (Daniel Gad), a Tel Aviv millennial who unexpectedly discovers his bicycle locked up on a Tel Aviv street and unwittingly involves a migrant worker, whom he assumed stole the bicycle.

A graduate of Tel Aviv’s Minshar School of Art, Shushan wrote the film in one hour as he was still reeling from the incident. He received a budget for the film from The Makor Foundation for Israeli Film and Television, and filmed the entire movie in one night.

The film won the Best Short Film Award at the Haifa International Film Festival in 2019, the Grand Jury Award at the SXSW Film Festival 2020 as well as awards at a film festival in the United Kingdom.

“White Eye” is Shushan’s second short, following his first student film, and he is currently developing a TV series, “Torso,” about a private investigator, as well as his first feature film, “Between the Sacred and The Secular.”

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