We had the good fortune of connecting with Roy Shellef and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Roy, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking is definitely something that is necessary. Without taking risks, I would have never been who I am today in every aspect. When I was 22 I opened my first bar in Tel Aviv, without knowing anything about the business just because it was a dream of mine to own a bar. Stupid? ABSOLUTELY! Regrets? None! I learnt mostly what not to do and what kind of people and working environment I would like to have if I decide to open a new place. This is something that no school could’ve taught me and I am happy I did it. At the age of 24 I decided to follow a new dream once I started college. I was supposed to study business management (“the safe road”) but a week before, I changed my mind and “took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”. I went to study communications majoring in visuals (editing, directing and filmmaking). The people I met there became my new family! They were so creative and intelligent and they brought me into their world. That’s when I realized I wanted to be a director and producer. Being the person who brings people together and visions to life. Once I graduated, I packed up my bags and all the money I had and came to Hollywood! I studied at New York Film Academy in Burbank and I am currently producing short films, features and music videos (from the smallest to the biggest productions). Dare to dream, dare to move, take the necessary risks and dare to do what makes YOU feel good! But also, do those things without hurting others. Other people are as important as you.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a people person. I love meeting people, learning from them and genuinely become their friend. If there is something that this industry has the lack of, it is real friendships and wanting to spend time with a certain individual not because of what he/she did or got but because of who this person is. This is something that I bring with me to any production – treat the person in front of you the same you want to be treated. I give 500% to every project I am a part of because I love bringing new stories to life. It is my passion! Bring me your stories even with no budget, I’ll do my best to make them work.
This all began in Tel Aviv, Israel when I was 16, trying to edit short videos that I filmed on my phone, finding ways to tell stories creatively. At 18, I joined the army and served as a fighter in the navy and then became an officer. I was released at the age of 21 in the rank of first Lieutenant. In the army I started experimenting with graphic design, mostly on my phone. It helped keep my mind creative. At 22 I opened my first business. I opened a bar in Tel Aviv and spent 4 years in the night life scene, producing and promoting major events with world-renowned DJs attached. Before mythird and final year of college was over, I started looking for new ways to improve my filmmaking skills. So after lots of hard work, in 2019 I started my one year filmmaking program at “New York Film Academy” and graduated in September 2020. Last year was a lot but it didn’t stop me. I am honored to be mentored by a highly respected director-producer he
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
A week in LA is not enough. But I think this plan should work: First day: Be done with all the tourist things. Hollywood sign, Chinese theater, showing them Sunset and Hollywood BLVD. Move to Venice and Santa Monica pier and end the day at the Universal City Walk. Obviously on their first day “In N Out” is a must! Second day: Have a picnic in Malibu – “El Matador” beach. This is my favorite beach. End the day with a nice dinner at “Moonshadows” restaurant. Order the whole menu! Everything is great and fresh. Third day: Going to the “Museum Of Dreams”. A brilliant experience for everyone. From there, we would go to “The Grove” for some shopping and dining at “Umami” – Get a nice burger! Finish the day at “Catch LA”. Forth day: Melrose trading post with “Blackbird Pizza” – enjoy the vibes of the area. At night going to “Bavel” in DTLA. This Middle Eastern restaurant is…. INCREDIBLE! Try the Shawarma. Fifth day: Drive to “Big Bear” for a day, come back home in the evening and head to “Urth Cafe” to eat something chill and enjoy the vibes. Sixth day: Japanese day! Go to the Japanese gardens in Van Nuys and from there, drive to little Tokyo for lunch. Hang for a bit and check out the cool anime stores. Head home and get ready for “TAO” restaurant. This restaurant has it all from drinks to delicious food. The night is not done yet, cause from there we will be going to “E.P & L.P”. Seventh day: A relaxing day at home! I wish my friends the best of luck!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Well… Honestly, every person I met along the way. The bad ones who shaped me and the good ones who protected and helped me. My amazing parents, brothers and family who always supports me no matter what. I am truly blessed to have been born to this amazing family! To my friends back home in Israel (You know who you are!) who kept dealing with my dramas and stupidity. I owe you everything. And to my friends here in LA who became my family and partners in crime. Creating cinema magic with you is always a pleasure!
Albina Kim Eli Sundler Elena Rojas Getty Images