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The Worst Company in the World
- Written by: Regev Contes & Arik Lahav-Leibovich
- Directed by: Regev Contes
- Produced by: Eilon Ratzkovsky, Yossi Uzrad, Guy Jacoel & Noa Lifshitz - July August Productions
- Language: Hebrew with English or French Subtitles
Love and humor are plentiful, but success is scarce in a small Tel Aviv insurance agency where nothing runs as it should. Perennially on the verge of bankruptcy, the failing agency is run by three middle-aged, divorced, and not particularly successful men. They may be highly intelligent, well-educated, warm and good -humored, but they have no inkling about running a business. This award-winning and refreshingly entertaining documentary offers an amusing behind-the-scenes look at the operations of the firm over one fiscal year, as the manager’s son – also the film’s director – joins this motley crew in a last-ditch attempt to save his father’s collapsing business. A personal documentary that is also an endearing father-son journey.
- Curator's Choice - San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2010
- Best Documentary Award - EcoFilm International Festival, Rhodes, 2010
- Student Jewry Award - Kiev International Film Festival, Ukraine, 2010
- Mayor of Tel-Aviv -Yaffo Award for a Young & Promising Filmmaker, DocAviv Festival 2009
- Nicosia International Mediterranean Film Festival, Cyprus 2011
- Sao Paulo Jewish Film Festival, Brazil, 2011
- Bucharest Jewish Film Festival, Romania, 2011
- Wisconsin International Film Festival, USA, 2011
- Maine Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2011
- Savannah Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2011
- Israefet in LA, USA, 2010
- Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2011
- Boston Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2010
- Batumi International Art House Film Festival, Georgia, 2010
- Rodos International Film and Visual Arts festival ECOFILMS, Greece, 2010
- Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2010
- Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Canada, 2010
- Docudays Human Rights International Film Festival, Ukraine, 2010
- Zagreb Dox International Film Festival, Croatia, 2010
- The REEL ISRAEL Films & Conversation, Cleveland, USA, 2010
- Isratim Film Festival, Paris, 2010
- Cherry Hill Volvo Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2010
- India Int'l Women Film Festival, Special Showcase for Ruth Diskin Films, December 2009
- Krakow Int'l Documentary Film Festival, Poland, 2010
- San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, 2010
- Israfest NY/LA Film Festival, USA, 2009
- Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2010
- Bratislava Int'l Film Festival, 2009
- Washington Jewish Film Festival, USA, 2009
- GZ Doc Int'l Film Festival, Guangzhou, China, 2009
- Calgary Jewish Film Festival, Canada, 2009
- DocAviv, The Tel Aviv Int'l Documentary Film Festival, May 2009.
- Wesleyan University
- Harvard University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Milwaukee Jewish Resource Center
- Temple Sinai Library
Press and Links
Contes took a year off from his successful career directing TV commercials in Tel Aviv to help his father’s failing insurance agency, the eponymous “worst company.” When he joins the firm, the staff consists of Dad, a crusty, plain-spoken character with no apparent aptitude for business; his brother, whose primary contribution is to take care of Dad, and their friend Moshe, whose unspoken job description is to keep Dad laughing. Not surprisingly, the firm’s accountant tells them at the outset of the film that “in two or three more quarters, you’ll go bankrupt.”
Regev joins the firm and struggles to put it on a more business-like footing. At the very least, he awards the elderly trio new titles and business cards and, assuming the role of development director, tries desperately to generate new business. He also brings them a cat that quickly becomes one of the agency’s most reliable, uh, assets. Nothing helps much. By the end of the year, the accountant observes that the 70 percent loss in income of the previous year has been turned into a 40 percent loss and the lights go out on the company. But the experience is an emotionally enriching one for father and son and, best of all, the audience. This is a very funny, frequently poignant portrait of an eccentric extended family.
Special To The Jewish Week
Jury Statement Regarding the Prize Given to "THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD" in DocAviv Int'l FF, 2009:
The film succeeds in turning a boring business into a creative venture with winning characters. Using humor, the film allows each character to develop individually which permits audience empathy at moments of both sadness and happiness - and at a time when the younger generation is trying to save the situation.
SAYINGS OF THE FATHERS
Two young filmmakers dedicated their first film to their looser-fathers and as a result are raking in the prizes. This is how the face of the future Israeli Cinema should look.
These two young filmmakers are aware of the state of documentary film in Israel. They know that if they had chosen to make a political film, their chances for success would have been greater and the invitations to international film festivals would have poured in. Despite that, they each chose in their first films to touch on personal subjects- which in any other country in the world would be the stuff of classic documentary filmmaking, but here in Israel is perceived a bit as a strange bird. In other words – instead of making a film about Palestinians and check-points, each one chose to make a film about their looser-fathers.
Regev Contes (Director of "The Worst Company in the World"): Israeli documentary film is mostly intended for export. Just as we have come to expect rice exported from China, we expect Israeli documentaries to duplicate the endless-ness of the Conflict….but for me it was important to show people. To show their lives. In Israel documentary films make regular people feel like their lives are not important. And that is not a cinema I can connect to.
Miki Angel/TimeOut Tel Aviv, July 30th 2009
A humorous documentation by a son of his father who is funny, warm – and who is not particularly good at running a business. Regev Contes, who just won the Mayor's Prize for a First Film tells us about his documentary: what I discovered about my dad is that his strengths are better appreciated outside of work.
Regev Contes, who won this year's Mayor's Prize talks about his father Karol, his uncle Latche and the family business which is the pretext for his new documentary THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD. "I have been helping my dad out with the business for years, and one afternoon I got to his office for a meeting. I knocked on the door, but no one answered.
Using my emergency key I opened the door and found my father and uncle sleeping. I had a camera with me so I took a picture to show them how ridiculous they look. The scene was really funny and poetic so I decided to make a movie about it."
In the movie the behind-the-scenes of the company are exposed – where love and humor are plentiful, but not much success. "As a kid I had all kinds of excuses as to why my dad's business was not taking off, but working on this film has made me realize that my dad's incredible talents are best appreciated outside the work place".
Nana 10, June 13th 2009
three bald men, full of charm and humor, meet in Regev Contes' documentary THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD. The film follows the father, Karol during the year where father and son try to save the company from bankruptcy. The result is somewhat pessimistic – but amusing.
Worst is a Matter of Taste
THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD – finally a film that is not about the occupation Those who scan the listings of documentaries might get the impression that in Israel documentary film is only for the politically minded or those down on their luck…
That's why awarding the Mayor's Prize to THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD is an encouraging sign. Finally a personal script that does not take on larger subjects or contain within it all the ills of the world. Even more surprising, THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD is funny – which, if I am not mistaken, is quite a precedent.
Ben Zilka, MSN Entertainment, June 4th, 2009
Laughing at Work
There is the expectation that Israeli film will contain political situations and heart- wrenching tragic elements. And more over if the film is a documentary – the last thing you would expect is for the film to make you laugh. Regev Contes' film THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD, which won the prize for first film at DocAviv this week, did so against all odds; the film is not political and it is very funny.
"Post modernism has so gotten into our heads the idea that the personal is political to the point that the personal has so totally disappeared. In other countries comedies are considered mainstream. Here it seems like an extreme alternative. Israelis turn everything on its head; everything is upside down here. Emergency is the norm here and regular life is a rare flower".
Contes, 32, makes a living in advertising and this is his first film. In THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD the three main characters are all un-married, are not rich, not particularly successful – and most of the time behave like children. During the film Contes tries to get into what's left of the family business in the hopes of saving it. Yet during the screening there was no one in the audience who was not rolling with laugher.
Dana Sweppy, Haaretz, June 3rd, 2009