Thursday, May 25, 2023

Sisters Millea Kenin, Director of Returning Home, (right) and Chanah Ella Kenin, who stars as Eliana (left).

Returning Home is a short film depiction of what it is like to be an American Olah or immigrant to Israel, as a teenager. The challenges are specific. Teen Olim may have a close-knit group of friends they were forced to leave behind in the States, perhaps friends they grew up with. Teenage immigrants may feel alienated from their new, Hebrew-speaking classmates and by Israeli teen culture, in general. Language is often a problem. And sometimes, the choice to come live in Israel is not made by teenage Olim, but by their parents.

Basically, teenage aliyah is teenage angst on steroids.

Millea Kenin, a senior at Oriyah High School in Gush Etzion, made aliyah from Berkeley, California in 2019. At Oriyah, Kenin had the opportunity to choose filmmaking as her study track. The teenager attended film classes for three years, learning to make music videos, short films, and more.

As part of the curriculum for the Oriyah film elective, Millea Kenin directed the short movie, Returning Home, written and created by her and three of her classmates. Being in their senior year, the film was the students’ final project for the program. (Names of the full production crew are in the youtube video description, in Hebrew.)

Asked if Returning Home was based on the Berkeley teen’s personal Aliyah journey, Millea said, “The film was inspired by some of my own experiences, but isn’t specific to my experience. It’s made for all Olim to relate to.”

Millea was the only immigrant among the film producers. But there is another teenage immigrant involved with the film. Chanah Ella Kenin, younger sister of Millea, plays the part of lonely alienated teen immigrant Eliana. Her performance was so genuine and credible, that after seeing the film, her mom Naama—also in the film—came up to Chanah Ella and apologized for making her make Aliyah. The brave teen responded, “It’s okay. I’d totally do it again.”

Likes (at the youtube page) and shares would be much appreciated by these ambitious and talented teen filmmakers.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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