Dana Ivgy was born to act, but not in a clichéd kind of way. You see, she was born into a family of actors.
It would be hard for Ivgy to avoid the theater. She was onstage before she was even born. “My parents met in the acting school that I went to eventually. They studied in the same school and my mom was pregnant on stage with me,” she said of her parents, veteran actors Moshe Ivgy and Irit Sheleg. “I don‘t know, it must have been inevitable, but I just started acting when I was very, very young. Like as soon as I could talk I would arrange shows and everyone had to watch.”
But when Ivgy started high school, she considered leaving acting behind. “I wanted to be a filmmaker and I thought that acting was stupid,” the Israeli actress admits. “Why be an actor when you can be a director? You can be in charge, you can be the boss. But I just really love acting so I realized when I wanted to study cinema that I couldn’t. I wanted to study acting too much and I realized I’m an actor, and I’ll always be an actor.”
With father Moshe Ivgy (Photo: Rafi Deloya)
After graduating she appeared in critically acclaimed films, including Broken Wings. However, it wasn’t until 2004 with the title role in the movie "Or", about a Israeli teen (Or) and her prostitute mother (played by Ronit Elkabetz), that Ivgy started to garner international buzz.
The film, directed by Keren Yedaya, had its premiere at the Cannes International Film Festival where it won five awards, including the prestigious Camera D’Or. Her performance in the movie won Ivgy her first award from the Israeli Film Academy.
Last year, Ivgy and Yedaya teamed up again for Jaffa, which had its North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie tells a contemporary Romeo and Juliet love story, with a Middle Eastern twist. In Jaffa, the Capulets and the Montagues are replaced by an Israeli family and an Arab family.
“I always find it interesting to work with Keren (Yedaya) because she’s the kind of director that looks very deep inside the subjects she wants to deal with,” said Ivgy. “And for me, it’s always an opportunity to research, to find out new things. That way I can find out some things about myself, about my country, about people I live with in this country.”
With Ronit Elkabetz in 'Or' (Photo: Anna Moravska)
In her latest movie "Haiu Leilot", Ivgy got to co-star with her father, two-time Israeli Academy Award Winner Moshe Ivgy. “I’ve worked with him before and this was the most intense experience. It was strange. When I was a little girl it was different because it would be natural that he would, you know, watch my back and I would be his little girl. But now that we both have careers it was kind of strange. It was kind of like, try to imagine that your father was working with you right now while you’re on the phone with me,” she laughs.
Even when she isn’t filming movies, Ivgy is still acting. She started a theatre company with friends where she’s involved as an actress and on production elements. “We just started doing a comedy show,” said Ivgy. “In Israel, people really, really need and want to see comedy.”
Aside from theatre productions, Ivgy is wrapping up a short film she wrote and directed, and hopes to make music. “I have a dream to be unlimited,” she revealed. “To be able to work with whoever I want. I’m fascinated by cinema and I actually admire a lot of directors who I would love to work with and for me, I don’t see cinema limited for Hollywood or European films. My dream is to work wherever I wanna be."
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life