In the Jewish religion, a week of sitting Shiva (or mourning the deceased) is called for after a funeral. However, for Eyal and Vicky, a week is hardly enough time to properly mourn the loss of their 25-year-old son Ronnie. A married couple edging into the back half of middle age, the two find themselves reacting to the end of the Shiva in markedly different ways.
A return to routine seems to be in order for Vicky, a teacher, as she finds herself back at school trying to abruptly kick out the substitute assigned in her stead. Meanwhile, shopkeeper Eyal opts for a total abdication of routine, as he steals his dead son’s bag of medical marijuana, and proceeds to get high, play ping-pong and judge air guitar routines with his neighbor’s stoner son Zooler.
As the world refuses to accommodate Vicky and Eyal’s sensitivities during their time of bereavement – taxi drivers are still difficult, neighbors are still obnoxious, and grave diggers are just as indifferent as anyone else in the service industry – the two grieving parents find themselves acting out in outlandish ways as they attempt to regain a sense of control over their lives.
Asaph Polonsky’s debut feature OnE WEEK AnD A DAy juxtaposes the grieving process against the immutable fact that, despite the most painful losses imaginable, the world stops for no one’s mourning. With endearing performances from Shai Avivi and Evgenia Dodina as Eyal and Vicky, and Tomer Kapon as Zooler, ONE WEEK AND A DAY provides a nuanced perspective on loss that is as merciless as it is funny and insightful.
Shai Avivi - Eyal Spivak
Shai Avivi is one of Israel’s leading comedians, but has also acted in a variety of dramatic roles. He is best known for being a member of the HAHAMISHIA HAKAMERIT ensemble, a satirical show which is considered a milestone in Israeli television to this day. The ensemble continued working together after the show’s end and produced the dramatic television show HABURGANIM. In 2006 Shai played a supporting role in the Sundance award-winning film SWEET MUD. In addition, Shai starred in and produced (alongside Saar Yogev) the the comic primetime hit GOOD TIDINGS. He continues to participate in films and on television, both in dramatic and comedic roles.
Evgenia Dodina - Vicky Spivak
Evgenia Dodina, a graduate of the GITIS Royal Art School in Moscow, is one of Israel’s most celebrated theater and cinema actresses. She starred in leading roles at the Maiakovski Theatre in Moscow. It was the encounter between Evgenia and Yevgeni Arye, a teacher at the theater, which led to her decision to emigrate to Israel in 1990. Since then, Evgenia is an ensemble member at the Gesher Theatre in Tel Aviv. Evgenia joined the theater upon its establishment, has performed in lead roles in the majority of the theater’s productions and has garnered praise and enthusiastic reviews. Since 2007, Evgenia joined Habima, Israel’s national theater. Her cinematic works include films by renowned Israeli directors such as Ari Folman, Samuel Maoz and Avi Nesher.
Tomer Kapon - Zooler
Tomer Kapon was born in 1985 in Holon, Israel. He was drawn to acting from a young age. After three years serving as a paratrooper, he traveled the world and upon his return to Israel began working with horses, all the while dreaming of starring in a Spaghetti Western. He began studying acting at the Yoram Levinstein Drama Studio and began working soon after, although he continues to study and to improve his technique. He has starred in internationally acclaimed films and television shows, including Natalie Portman’s A STORY OF LOVE AND DARKNESS, HOSTAGES and FAUDA.
Jan Bijvoet - Theo
Jan Bijvoet was born in Antwerp in 1966. He has been one of the artistic directors and actors of the Antarctica Theater since 2005. He has also performed in film and television, guest-starring in a number of series. He has starred in the films AD FUNDUM, THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN (Academy® Award nominee), and BORGMAN (Official Selection – Competition, Cannes 2013). In 2007, he was nominated for the Flemish Culture Award of Scenic Arts. Referring to the German explorer who was the inspiration for his character, he reflects that even though Grünberg tried to integrate with the native people, he could not let go of his white spirit. “He had the western way of thinking, and he wanted to carry hundreds of things to study. Love is possession, too. He is also afraid of death. He doesn’t understand why, but it’s because deep down, he is a materialist since his formation, even though he tries to drift away from it.”
Brionne Davis - Evan
Brionne Davis was born in Texas and started acting at a very early age, playing Tom Sawyer. He has starred and taken leading roles in more than 30 independent feature length and short films and television series, including REST STOP: DON’T LOOK BACK (2008), DOROTHY AND THE WITCHES OF OZ (2012), Pandemic (2007), NARCISSIST (2014), SAVAGED (2013), and HOLIDAYS WITH HEATHER (2006). In New York, Brionne starred in the Theatre Row adaptation of Sam Shepard’s “True West.” He has appeared in many theater productions all across the country, including “Wallenburg” at the Soho Playhouse, “A Noble Exile” in Los Angeles and “Nueva York,” a one-man show that he wrote ￼ and produced, inspired by the writings of Tennessee Williams. Davis’ character “Evan” in EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT was inspired by the great botanist and explorer Richard Evans Schultes, and he feels close to him in his love of and search for plants and nature.
Antonio Bolívar Savador - Old Karamakate
Antonio Bolívar Salvador is one of the last survivors of the Ocaina people. He resides near Leticia and has had some previous experiences in filmmaking, but he prefers not to speak about them because he feels that they were disrespectful to his culture. Besides playing one of the main characters, he also served as interpreter for the Tikuna, Cubeo, Huitoto languages and even English, as he became the teacher of the international actors. He represents the best of the Amazonian people: willing to trust foreigners, to transmit their knowledge and thankful to be treated respectfully. That’s the most important aspect of the film to him: “It is a film that shows the Amazon, the lungs of the world, the greater purifying filter and the most valuable of indigenous cultures. That is its greatest achievement.”
Nilbio Torres - Young Karamakate
Nilbio Torres has never set foot in a gym; his amazing physique has been sculpted by the hardships of the jungle and the hard work he’s done since he was little. The 30- year-old has only worked in agriculture and this is his first experience with the cinema. He has a hard time expressing himself in Spanish, as he speaks mostly Cubeo. But he manages to find words to tell what this experience has meant to him. He feels the film is faithful to the story of his ancestors. “What Ciro is doing with this film is an homage to the memory of our elders, in the time before: the way the white men treated the natives, the rubber exploitation. I’ve asked the elders how it was and it is as seen in the film, that’s why we decided to support it. For the elders and myself it is a memory of the ancestors and their knowledge.”
Yauenkü Miguee - Manduca
Yauenkü Miguee was born and raised in Nazareth, a Tikuna community of the Amazon, 26 years ago. He is now a student of physical education in Bogotá and is about to achieve his greatest goal: to become a professional. He defines his participation in the film as a new experience in his life, this time from the field of art and corporal expression, which reinforced his thinking and showed him how to see life from different perspectives. He believes this film should be shared not only with the people of the locations, but all across the country, with all the indigenous peoples in Leticia and the Amazon, with the leaders, in schools and universities. He is the voice of many Manducas, a voice that, far away from the so-called civilization, cries out for a more civilized attitude towards Colombia’s indigenous communities.
Asaph Polonksy - Writer / Director
Asaph was born in Washington, DC in 1983. In Israel, where he grew up, he directed, wrote and produced two short films, both official selections of the Jerusalem Film Festival: ZIPPER and In BED AT 10 P.M. In 2010 he attended The American Film Institute Conservatory’s Directing Program where he directed the 2013 Student Academy Award Nominee thesis film SAMNANG, which premiered at the New York Film Festival and won awards and screened at several film festivals internationally. His debut feature film, ONE WEEK AND A DAY, was participated in the 2012 Sam Spiegel International Film Lab – Jerusalem, participated in the 2013 Sofia Meetings and won the 2015 Haifa Film Festival Work in Progress Award. Asaph was awarded AFI’s Richard P. Rogers Spirit of Excellence Award, an Irwin and Sheila Allen Scholarship and an America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship.
Saar Yogev - Producer
A graduate of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film & TV (BFA). Starting as a Line Producer and a Unit Production Manager in large scale co-productions, Saar quickly gained recognition as a talented independent producer and was appointed Head Producer at JCS for two years before returning to produce independently. Between 2005-2007, Saar was invited to produce the Jerusalem Film Festival, after which he was asked to return to JCS, this time as Head of Productions and was responsible for numerous TV productions. In 2006, alongside Shai Avivi, Saar produced the primetime hit GOOD TIDINGS. In 2010 Saar joined forces with Naomi Levari and the two founded Black Sheep Film Productions. Saar is a 2013 EAVE alumni. In addition to his work as a producer, Saar acted as head of the Entrepreneurial Producers Program at the Sam Spiegel Film & Tv School between 2010-15.
Naomi Levari - Producer
Naomi is an award-winning director and producer, graduating summa cum laude from the Sam Spiegel Film & Tv School. Her diploma film, DRAFT, gained international success, participating in numerous international film festivals. The passion for storytelling and the urge to make things happen routed Naomi to become an entrepreneur-producer and led her to co-found Black Sheep Film Productions with Saar Yogev in 2010. Through its documentary and fiction films, the company directs a spot light to the unheard and unseen corners of Israeli society. Naomi was chosen by the Israel Film Fund to take part in the Producers Lab at the 2011 Rotterdam Film Festival and was invited by CNC to participate at the 2013 Cannes Producer’s Network as an emerging producer. In addition, Naomi acts as a sought out script editor, a reader for the Israel Film Fund, The Sam Spiegel International Film Lab – Jerusalem and a mentor and pitching trainer at educational international platforms and film schools.