Written by Tom Shoval

June Zero was an unexpected cinematic adventure for me. One day at the end of 2018, I got a call from the researcher of the film who mentioned that director Jake Paltrow had come to Israel to scout and conduct interviews with some of the people involved in the events of Eichmann's trial and that he was looking for a screenwriter to collaborate with.

I am a filmmaker, writer, and director, and at the time I was working on my second feature, Shake Your Cares Away. I knew Paltrow only by reputation, having enjoyed his previous films De Palma (2015) and Young Ones (2014), and was open to meeting.

We met in a noisy bar by the sea and the conversation ignited immediately. Jake told me about the idea he had for the film that came from reading about the process of building the oven that was used to cremate Eichmann's body and the extensive research he was doing. The Holocaust in the Eichmann trial became history, documented, legal truth, and the script writing was a part of the thematic existence of the film—questioning what is a story and what is historical truth and where the two meet.

June Zero - Trailerwww.youtube.com

The writing process, which stretched over a year, began in Israel and continued to New York. Jake and I worked together in English although sometimes I would write some scenes in Hebrew and get them translated and we would rework them. Then when the draft was finished, I switched the needed dialogues to Hebrew. In all that time Jake took Hebrew lessons to sharpen his ear for the language.

Testimony is a basic and important element in the film and, as each of the heroes is a witness and takes an active part in history, their experiences became the emotional and historical centre of the Eichmann trial where, for the first time, Holocaust survivors spoke about their experiences without the anxiety of shame and the fear that they would not be believed.

In this way, we plunged into spaces that filmmaking related to the Holocaust often overlooked including Israel after the war, the stories of Holocaust survivors from Arab countries, and the sectarian gap that prevailed in Israel at that time between the Mizrahim and the Ashkenazim which is an open wound that still reverberates in Israeli society.

At first, we focused on the story of the oven, but due to the in-depth investigation and the countless interesting testimonies that sometimes contradict each other and the complex cinematic characters that were created—we realized that we cannot ignore these stories.

The result is a sort of cinematic triptych that presents three stories that take place at the same time and are the perspectives of those whose role in the historical event (in this case the Eichmann trial) is small and unknown but no less significant.

Thus, a rich script full of twists and turns was created that captures a pivotal moment in Israeli history but invites new interpretations and a different and unique look at that significant moment in time.