Micah Smith is an award winning narrative and documentary filmmaker. His films have screened in over 40 festivals on five continents. Smith graduated from the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts.
The Making of "Chloé and Renny's Epic 24 Hrs in Israel"
At Jerusalem U we make all kinds of movies, from full length features to video shorts. It's what we're all about! And we like to think that after making several award-winning films we're good at it. But the exhausting schedule of "Chloé and Renny's Epic 24 Hours in Israel" presented a completely new challenge to our film team.
We really did film it in a single day, racing to 12 locations all over Israel. It was pretty much Birthright on speed, minus sleep, team building, name tags or hot IDF soldiers, but with the addition of deadlines, cameras and makeup! Could we take Chloé and Renny all around Israel and get Chloé back to the airport for her early morning flight? - ain ba'aya as Israelis say - no problem!
It all started a few weeks earlier with a brainstorming session "what would you do if you had just 24 hours to tour Israel?". We threw down over 200 ideas of amazing things to do in Israel. After some back and forth, and a lot of pizza, we narrowed it down to 12 totally awesome activities.
Our stars were Chloé Valdary, an American political writer, thought leader, and Shillman Scholar, and Renny Grinshpan, an insanely cool Israeli actress and Youtube star. The film crew was me (director), Gabi (producer), Sasha (cameraman), Amit (sound), Revital (makeup/hair), and our trusty (and patient) driver Shmuel.
As soon as the sun came up we shot the opening sequence at a popular Jerusalem scenic lookout. Then we raced to our first stop, Café de Paris, to learn how to make the delicious Israeli breakfast, Shakshuka. At this point we were already running 30 minutes late—the pressure was on!
At the restaurant, we grabbed some breakfast to-go and raced to the next location: a Krav-Maga self-defense class (where Chloé and Renny started to regret eating breakfast) and then on to the YMCA to visit the world famous Peace Kindergarten. Cheeks were squeezed!
We left the capital and headed south to Gush Etzion, about 30 minutes away, for some wine tasting and a mind-blowing zip line, with major pants accident potential. We purposely hit up the winery first, thinking a little vino would help keep things mellow at the longest zip line in the Middle East. Watch this clip and see if you think it worked!
Then we headed across the country to the beach in Tel Aviv for a surfing lesson, only to get ourselves stuck in major Israeli traffic (which is pretty much the same as the traffic where you live, but with a ton more honking and hand gestures). Frantic calls to the surf school to adjust the timetable raised the stress levels, but luckily the surfers were pretty chill.
At the end of the amazing surf shoot we whisked Chloé and Renny from the waves and gave them a generous 5 minutes for hair and make-up, courtesy of Revital. With no time for showers, sand remained in what we will simply call "uncomfortable places"!
All of a sudden we had a couple of Mariah Careys on our hands—our stars were hungry and demanded to “eat food” because they “hadn’t eaten in 6 hours”. We hadn't really planned for any craft services, oops!
Physically nourished, we hit up the unique Secular Yeshiva for some Jewish study in Torah and Talmud!
Spiritually nourished, we moved on to a breakdance lesson. As it turns out, Chloe can pop some seriously real moves. Renny brought out some of her old school tap dancing, La La Land style!
Basketball was next, with Israel's top pro-team Maccabi Tel Aviv. We were shocked to discover that fans do not enjoy it when a film crew and all their gear shuffle into the aisles. Weird! We found out that Chloé is a major basketball fan when she started screaming at the opposing team from the bleachers. Unfortunately, none of us could stay for long. We were on a mission!
The next location was a bust: On paper, crashing a wedding sounded like fun. We set Chloé and Renny up with a Go-Pro and tried to sneak them in. But we hit a slight snag...security! Don't worry—the police were not involved. Phew!
Midnight and Tel Aviv's famous night life. Our team was on the verge of collapse but somehow we pulled through and partied through the tiredness, making friends with some local jazz musicians.
With only a few minutes to spare, we just managed to get Chloé to Ben Gurion airport in time for her flight home. At that point, we knew we had taken Chloé and Renny (and you) on an amazing trip.
Check out the full film. We’d love to hear what you think of this project. Tell us in the comments what you would want to do if you had the same 24 hours?