Maya’s movie – behind the scenes and an English subtitled version

So, now’s the time to reveal all that went on behind the scenes of the movie for Maya’s Bat Mitzva.

The clip with English subtitles:

First and foremost – Maya is my oldest sister’s daughter.
The Bat Mitzva is a Jewish traditional celebration for girls when they reach the age of 12, and there’s usually a big party for friends and family (the equivalent for boys is the better known Bar Mitzva). Unfortunately, we could not be at Maya’s Bat Mitzva party, scheduled for 26 June, but we wanted to send something special from our trip.

We started thinking about it back in Mexico – we were on the Caribbean coast and the Yucatan peninsula for some time, an area known as Mundo Maya (Maya world), with amazing Mayan ruins and a sense of their almost lost culture. We knew we’d make some kind of movie or clip, and we started collecting pictures we could use – the name Maya is everywhere here and we knew we’d incorporate this fact somehow into the clip.
We were traveling with Lu, our Argentinian friend, at the time, and she had a video camera, and this gave us an idea – we could find an old local man or woman, record them discussing the great Mayan culture, and use it in our clip. We even prepared a speech, in our broken Spanish, to explain what a Bat Mitzva is – “es como quince anos pour Chudios ninas..” (the Latin Americans have big celelbrations for girls at 15 – they dress up in fancy wedding-like dresses, and pose for pictures and it’s a big and expensive deal… Our best comparison, we figured).

Well, time went by and the opportunity didn’t materialize itself. Don Jorge at Mahahual was a good candiadte, but he slipped away.. After a while we parted from Lu and her video camera. The Kindras in Guatemala had an old camera that could make videos, and we thought we’d use it, if we found someone right for the movie, but we didn’t. In Guatemala the Maya culture and folklore are still very much apparent, and it seemed like the perfect place for our “interview”.

We were in Xela (Quetzaltenango) in Guatemala, staying with Fernando and his family, when everything came together perfectly. Fernando has a video camera, and a lovely girlfriend, Stefanie, who had stayed with a local family while studying Spanish (Spanish schools around here usually involve home-stay with locals who don’t speak English, to encourage the students to get out of solely-English-speaking hostels..). We told them about our idea, and Stefanie immediately said that her host-mom would probably be happy to help.

On our last evening in Xela, Stefanie and Fernando came with us to meet this wonderful woman. They explained everything to her, and she agreed to take part. We stayed there the whole evening, and it was wonderful. We talked with her and her husband in Spanish (occasionally aided by Stefanie and Fernando..), and she served us delicious homemade Atol (warm corn drink).
When it was time, Fernando started videotaping, and she began talking about the great Mayan culture – the traditional clothes, the nature of the people, their strife and hardship since the arrival of the Spaniards…

It was quite late when we left, so excited by the evening adventure, anxious to get the video ready on time (we were a week away from the event, and with internet connections not promising for transmittal of such large files..).
The next two days were dedicated almost exclusively for the clip. Fernando had given Itai a software for editing the clip – Adobe Premier – only it was in Spanish. ‘We’ll manage’, Itai promised me. Indeed, he did, my talented magician. We wrote a script, collected all of our relevant pictures, and got to work.

Out of the long video we had with all the talk of “Maya”, we singled out those moments when the word “Maya” was specifically mentioned. We collected all these moments, and gave them a Bat-Mitzva-relevant translation (the nice lady agreed to help knowing that this is what we planned to do, of course), and for the music – the Mexican Institute of Sound, supplied to us by Poncho from Morelia, was an obvious choice.
The first evening we spent working on the video we suffered a small set-back; a long power-out at our hotel in Chichicastenango… We kept going as long as the laptop’s battery allowed, and continued the next day in Antigua, where we even had internet and could send it overnight to Israel.

This is the end result, which we are very proud of, and hope you all will enjoy.
Most importantly, we hope Maya enjoyed it. We were so sorry not to be there for the party, but we hope that in some way, we have given her something that’ll always make her smile, and that’s also important. We love you, Maya; you’re a very special girl, and you’re growing to be a very special young woman. Don’t you ever forget that – you’re special.

Oh, they screened the clip twice at the Bat Mitzva event. If that doesn’t stand for success, I don’t know what does..


  1. Great Idea,send somemore

  2. i simply thought it was awesome!!!

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