ISRAEL 87 MIN
An intimate story of a group of young dancers from Israel’s periphery, whose members are immigrants from former USSR, is trying to win the International Breakdance Championship. The competition is the highlight of their dreams as dancers, but as we watch them prepare, we encounter a world of crisis and alienation. Mixer, 27, is supporting his family and trying to help his younger brothers, who still live with their alcoholic mother. Potter, 21, is in the army now; he still dreams of dancing, but has no one to help him care for his mother, who is ill. And yet, despite the hardships, these bold dancers confront reality head-on, because desperation is a luxury that they can hardly afford.
Roman Shumunov-Agaranyan was born in Georgia, after the Civil War in Georgia, at the age 9 moved with family to Russia and after emigrated to Israel on his own in 2001, at 17 years of age on a student program. In 2008 started Film studies in Sapir Academic college and graduated with honors.
My name is Roman Shumunov-Agaranyan. I immigrated to Israel by myself at the age of 17, as part of program, which brought together youngsters like me, coming to Israel alone. Many of us wished to leave behind the dismantled countries of the former USSR and build a new life, others followed Zionistic ideals – but we all realized quickly that a long difficult adjustment period awaits us, in a new unfamiliar country, without parents or family surrounding us and with shortage of substantial support.
My parents joined me several years later, and the new system they had to deal with broke their spirit. They could not manage to find their place independently, and I found myself quite often switching places with them, attempting as best I could to help then adjust to Israel. But their estrangement and failed attempts to fit in, find employment and other issues finally led them to leave again.
My interest in Rap started during adolescence, but at my early years in Israel, I had so much I wanted to say and get off my chest. In one of these rap sessions, I met a group from Ashdod practicing break-dance. When our acquaintance grew deeper, I discovered a new world. A world where thousands of young immigrants such as myself, all over the country, all from marginalized areas surrounded by poverty and helplessness, still fight for their place in the world, dream and sacrifice to make their dreams a reality.
Exposing these unique stories and these people to viewers from other social surroundings and groups, that may not be aware to the conditions of these youngsters, is my mission. I want to raise awareness for the situation and circumstances faced by young immigrants, enabling viewers to know them a bit better, discovering what they are and seeing their real capability, beyond the common stereotypes about immigrants.
The film also approaches talented youth that can't find the right place for them in society, attempting to show them they are not alone in the face of reality, there are those who see them, understand them, and are going through similar experiences.
I want to show a young people who refuse to give in to their circumstances, they try to change the situation and prove their right to exist, as they are, in any way they can.
- DocAviv International Film Festival — Best First Film Award, Israel 2016
- The Israel Documentary Awards — Best First Film Award, Israel 2016
Main Competition 2017