Every once in a while, an artist comes along who changes the way we think about film. Alma Har’el is one of those. Most famous for her award-winning films Bombay Beach and LoveTrue, Har’el creates narrative work that plunges deep into the heart of imagination and creates surreal, dream-like poetic meditations on life. Her wildly inventive approach to filmmaking produces genre-redefining work which is exceptional, fearless, and artistically blurs the line between documentary and fiction.
Har’el was born in Tel Aviv where she began her film career as a photographer and video artist, mixing live video content for concerts which then led to directing music videos. Filmmaker Magazine called her music video for Sigur Rós ‘FJÖGER PIANO’ starring Shia LaBeouf “provocative and dramatically compelling” after naming her one of their 25 new faces of cinema.
Her commercial work captures real life from a magical yet beautifully realistic perspective, garnering numerous awards for her innovative style. Har’el directed Airbnb’s first national and international campaigns, her piece titled “Views” gave an intimate glimpse into spectacular places to stay around the world. More recently, Har’el was the first woman ever to direct a commercial for Stella Artois in the Belgian beer’s more than 20 years of advertising.
Her documentary Bombay Beach took top prize at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2011. A distillation of Har’el’s fearless style, the film is an unadulterated portrait of the human spirit as seen through the lives of three protagonists in the impoverished southern California community. Stephan Holden of the New York Times wrote, “Bombay Beach looks and feels like a fever dream about an alternate universe. Suffused with a sense of wonder, it hovers, dancing inside its own ethereal bubble.”
Her latest film, LoveTrue, saw her collaborating with Shia LaBeouf once more, this time with him in the executive producer’s seat. The film premiered at Tribeca Film Festival to rapturous applause in April 2016, with Indiewire writing ‘LoveTrue confirms that Alma Har’el makes movies like nothing else out there’.