Shevaun Mizrahi's film Distant Constellations is a poetic rendition of life, hope and dreams portrayed in two different Istanbul realities, through conversations with the elderly in the Bomonti Sisters of the Poor home and construction workers building a skyscraper next door.
Mizrahi herself is of mixed descent, Turkish and American, she tells of first coming to visit her father in Istanbul at 14. To preserve the intimacy she had with both the residents of the home and the construction workers, Mizrahi choose to make the film on her own, completely shot, directed and sound done by herself, produced by Deniz Buga and Shelly Grizim. The process took six years, ‘the intention to contain a very intimate and self contained world’.
‘We put as much, or maybe more, thought into the form as we did the content’, distinguishing the film from a typical documentary.
The moments of silence are as touching as the wonderful conversations with the residents; the use of sound, colour work and composition is exquisite. Mizrahi, a graduate of New York University Film School, started out as a photographer. There was no prompting. The whole film was as natural as if she did it in one shot.
Portrait photograph by Monica Fritz