Skip to main content

Filmmaker Spotlight: Interview with Writer/Director Tomer Almagor of 9 Full Moons

This week's NewFilmmakersLA Spotlight is on Writer and Director Tomer Almagor of the film, 9 Full Moons. Get to know Almagor's work, learn about the latest project, inspirations and catch a few tips for filmmakers just starting out. 
Tell us a little bit about your project and how long you’ve been working on it. 
9 FULL MOONS chronicles the rocky roller coaster relationship between Frankie and Lev, two individuals that are very different in their cores. Both of them struggle with demons that track back to their personal histories, which could be the reason why they end up gravitating towards one another in a seedy after-hours nightclub. Their story is brooding yet compelling, violent yet tender. It is down and dirty and intimate and real. All the materials from which a true love story is made of. 

This project is very personal and close to home. It is loosely based on my life experiences. I was actually working on a different project, a film that has been taking its time to get off the ground, meantime I made a short film and was touring the festival circuit with it. I met Bret Roberts who plays Lev in one of these festivals and from there on it all streamlined pretty quickly. I wrote the screenplay for about 3-4 weeks, and we started casting right away. We had a few Sisyphean hiccups on the way, but we kept plowing through trouble and the whole thing start to finish took us about 2 years. We’re very proud of the final film, and so far audiences were very responsive to it. We’re looking forward to share it with more people around the globe.
Is there anyone you'd like to thank for helping out with this film?
Many people.  Anyone who’d jumped on this suicide mission and got paid peanuts deserves my utmost gratitude… for the rest of eternity... and it’s a long list… But seriously, my life and business partner Gabrielle is probably the most instrumental person in getting this film made. We came up with the story together (or lived through to tell it) and she has been carrying the film on her shoulders from the beginning. Our other producers, Joy Saez and Bret Roberts who also plays the lead character Lev, love these guys. Other production team members include Logan Sparks, Roger Mayer, Christo Dimassis, Aron Michael Thompson and Will Clevinger. Our amazing cast – the brilliance of Amy Seimetz and Donal Logue and everyone else that was brave enough to crawl into the skin of their characters. Robert Murphy, our DP and co-editor. Matt Harvey on art direction. Ted Speaker, Andy Hay created the wonderful sound of the film and contributed to the soundtrack, which also includes songs by Foster Timms. All of these guys, and their respected teams. And a huge thank you to our family. They always support us tremendously in all of our film adventures.
How does it feel to have your film part of the NewFilmmakers LA Screening at the AT&T Center?
9 FULL MOONS is a personal love letter to LA, a city we love to hate, and we are very excited to screen the film in our hometown. Being part of the eclectic NewFilmmakers LA program is the cherry on top.
What inspires you?
People. I love to watch them, listen to them and reinvent their stories. Places, and various art forms, like books, paintings and music. Dreams, symbolism, and out of body experiences. 
Who are your influences and who do you admire?
For this story, it was mainly reality, and I admire Lev and Frankie for some of the bold choices they make. I do watch allot of films and for this movie we’ve been looking at many 70s movies. Last Tango in Paris, Five Easy Pieces and Taxi Driver all were part of our inspiration queue.
What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?
Perseverance is god. But god doesn’t exist. This industry is like a major ongoing hurricane that one needs to survive over and over again. But if one sticks to it, one can conquer the storm and master it, ride it. Dang, I should memorize this like a mantra when I’m on empty, depressed and beaten down sleeping for days in my bed.
If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?
Ray Winstone, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Foster, Annette Benning, Julianne Moore. There are quite a few brilliant and powerful performers out there. It really is material contingent. If I could go on sets and watch masters work, I’d love to hang out with Aki Kaurismaki and Mike Leigh just to name a few.
What is the toughest experience you've ever had to overcome?
Seeing it through all the time. I’m notoriously premeditated to lose the thread, wake up and think: what the hell am I doing…here? And why am I doing it?  Trying to find meaning in everything you do is a slippery slope, and because everything through the experience of filmmaking is either tough, or complicated, or very delicate and hard to pull off or all of the above... sometimes when I direct I feel like a politician or a used car salesman, both vocations I detest. So for me, I just try to keep at least one beat constant, and that is my thread. I guess you can say, the tone of the film or perhaps the spirit of it. It also helps to keep my expectations real low, so everything is a marvelous surprise. I’m ready to throw away the plan / script at any given moment and try fresh ideas, I try to sprinkle the whole experience with humor (or at least what I think is funny) and make sure to repeat in my head: we’re going to get through this. 
What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?
An Aussie surfer friend of mine who used to crash on my couch sporadically, always said that the most important thing is to remember that you never know what’s coming next and when it will come. One moment everything is flat, the next – chaos. He meant big waves of course. 
What advice would you give to new filmmakers starting out in the industry?
Have a very good reason why you want to do it to yourself. It is an addiction of the worst kind… Seriously though, each project is unique, and there are endless ways to make a film. Each film is unique, so there is no reason to give up. Just be creative about how you going to pull through and make it happen. All I can say is that for me on set and throughout the making of the picture everyone is equal part of the creative process. I prefer to surround myself with people that know better than me in all other aspects of filmmaking but story-telling. I respect everyone, and listen to their ideas, but my first loyalty is to the story I’m trying to tell. So I only apply input that can strengthen the story. No one knows your story better than you. 
Where can we expect to see you next?
Gabrielle and I have a number of interesting projects in various stages of production. We’re currently filming a documentary that she’s producing and I’m directing. We’ve also been working on a romantic comedy titled Wake Up Call. We’re ready for some healthy laughs after 9 FULL MOONS, and we’re inspired to go into production soon. 
Let our readers know where they can find more information about you and your projects. 
For more information, visit:

About the Author

Formerly an editor at Demand Media, writer at Citysearch, The Examiner and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine. Get to know the team of talented contributors.
Questions, comments or suggestions?

Popular posts from this blog

2017 EXXXOTICA Expo Dates and Locations Announced

Riding high off its most successful event to date in Edison, New Jersey, the EXXXOTICA Expo presented by MyFreeCams is already looking forward to 2017 with a trio of events planned around the country. In addition to its longstanding shows in Chicago and New Jersey, the show’s producers are pinning a new city on its map — Denver, Colorado for EXXXOTICA Mile High.

EXXXOTICA’s debut in the Rocky Mountains has been in the works for years, and event organizers couldn’t be more excited to bring the show to Denver. The 2017 show schedule kicks off in grand style with EXXXOTICA Mile High, March 31 through April 2, 2017. The show will be taking place as a full hotel takeover at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.
With nearly 100,000 square feet of exhibition and breakout space, EXXXOTICA Mile High will not only feature hundreds of exhibitors and the top stars in adult, as well as seminars and performers, but the hotel will be transformed into the hottest hotel in the country wi…

BEAUTIFUL RIGHTS Gives Women’s Rights Some Real Lip Service

Beautiful Rights is here to give women’s rights some real lip service. This new, cause-driven makeup initiative, founded by renowned makeup artist and product developer, Kristen Therese Leonard, was created to ensure that women’s rights continue to be given their share of voice in our country’s future.

As we enter into 2017, real concerns regarding women’s rights are upon us. Beautiful Rights was created to remind every woman to speak up, and that the responsibility lies within each of us to protect the rights we’ve fought so hard to acquire.

Beautiful Rights will promote women’s rights by donating 20% of all sales (not profits) to organizations that support our causes, such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Emily’s List, Lambda Legal and Legal Momentum. The 20% contribution is set as a reminder of the fact that women in the U.S. still get paid 20% less than men for doing the same work.

Not only will Beautiful Rights fuel great initiatives, it will also provide women with top-of-line…

Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale Releases March 9, 2017

Aniplex of America Inc. announced today that the nationwide release of the highly anticipated feature film Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale- will take place on March 9, 2017. Details on theater locations and tickets for the nationwide release will be announced at a later date on the official homepage ( Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale- will be distributed by ELEVEN ARTS in the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.
About Sword Art Online: The animated TV series Sword Art Online is based on author Reki Kawahara’s light novel in which the protagonist Kirito fights to survive in the mysterious next-gen VRMMORPG called “Sword Art Online.”
Since the first volume of the novel was published in April 2009, the series has proved extremely popular, with cumulative sales exceeding 12.5 million units in Japan and 19 million worldwide, spawning two TV anime adaptations, video games, comic books, and merchandise.
Story of Sword Art Online the Movie -O…

Summer Survival: Pick the Most Breathable Fabrics

Summer is inching closer, and while we're all psyched for the perpetually warm weather ahead after a tough winter, pretty soon it's inevitable that the heat, humidity and summer sun will leave us feeling, well, less than fresh.

Chrissy Volk, wardrobe consultant for Adahlia Volk has put together a cheat-sheet for navigating through the best, most breatheable fabrics for the season. Who ever looks at clothing "ingredient" listings on the tag - well, this season think of it as your guide to "cool."


COTTON + STRETCH = CUTE BUTT: Cotton jeans are the lightest for summer because they are airy and breathable, however, jeans with a small content of stretch are the most flattering. They will move with your body and it’s movements.BEST DENIM BLENDS: Chrissy suggests denim with a high cotton content, and small synthetic content. A jean with either a 98% cotton/2% lycra or 96 % cotton/4% Lycra fabric, is a good combination. J…

Book Review: "Feel Me Fall" by James Morris

Survival, suspense, fear, love, death and a major plot twist are a few key themes that describe the brand new Young Adult novel, Feel Me Fall, by James Morris. Having read two of his previous books, including Melophobiaand What Lies Within, he definitely succeeds at taking you on a crazy adventure where you can't stop reading as you'll want to find out what happens next. The first few chapters of Feel Me Fall are reminiscent of the classic book, Lord of the Flies, the TV show "LOST," and even the Tom Hanks movie, Cast Away, where a plane crash in a remote area forces survivor(s) to fend for themselves away from modern day luxuries and civilization. One of the major differences is that Feel Me Fall is centered around high school students, where their teen issues collide with primal survival instincts. 
Unlike Lord of the Flies, which was written in 1957, Feel Me Fall gives a glimpse of today's world where parents and teens dabble in video games, things go viral on …