Real events inspired Fredman’s first feature, an action thriller about a man pursued by a loan shark.
Jerusalem-born film-maker Benny Fredman describes his first feature Suicide, which centres around a man who puts his family in danger after he borrows money from a loan shark, as “an action thriller inspired by The Usual Suspects, taking place across parallel time zones to increase the film’s rhythm and add another layer of suspense”.
The idea for the film came from the terrifying real-life experience of one of Fredman’s friends, who borrowed money in a similar manner. “I witnessed my friend crippled with fear; the look on his terrified face when the phone rang stayed with me,” says Fredman, who sold his computer business to pursue the dream of becoming a director, going on to enrol at the Tel Aviv-based film school, Camera Obscura, before making his student film Leak, which travelled the international festival circuit.
Dubbed as the “first action thriller to come out of Israel”, Suicide — a world premiere at Jerusalem Film Festival stars Mali Levi and Rotem Keinan, with funding from Israel Film Fund and Jerusalem Film Fund.
“This sort of film is a genre that has yet to be done in Israel. We were very lucky that even though this is a very small and young country, cinema is very much alive and we ended up raising the budget we needed to complete the film,” says Fredman, who shot Suicide entirely in Jerusalem, at more than 60 locations across the city, thanks to support from the city’s police department and local businesses.
“It has always been my dream to shoot a movie in this unique city, I wanted to show the city’s dark side as only someone who knows every inch of this place could,” adds Fredman, who is now working on his next project, Salvation, which he describes as an “Israeli Breaking Bad” about a young man who starts a business in a Jerusalem neighbourhood but clashes with the local mafia.