Riklis set to roll on Zeytoun
by Naman Ramachandran
21/03/2012 - Cameras will roll from April 1 for nine weeks at Israel locations on Zeytoun, to be directed by Eran Riklis (pictured - Playoff [trailer]). The film is a co-production between the UK’s Bedlam Productions (The King’s Speech [trailer, film focus]) and US outfit Far Films. This will be the first film under the aegis of the recently ratified UK-Israel Film Coproduction Treaty.
Nader Rizq’s script recounts the story of an unlikely friendship that develops between a 10-year-old Palestinian refugee and a stranded Israeli pilot as they make a homeward journey across war ravaged Lebanon.
The film stars Stephen Dorff (Brake), Alice Taglioni (The Valet [trailer]), Loai Nofi (Lemon Tree [trailer]), Tarik Kopty (Syrian Bride), Ashraf Barhom (The Kingdom), Ali Suliman (Body of Lies), Jony Arbid (For My Father) and singer and actress, Mira Awad and features Abdallah El Akel as the Palestinian boy.
Fred Ritzenberg of Far Films developed Zaytoun with Riklis and will produce alongside Bedlam’s Gareth Unwin. Pathé is handling French speaking territories and international sales rights while United King is looking after Israeli distribution rights. H.W. Buffalo and British Film Company are equity partners. BUF in Paris will provide post-production services. BFI Film Fund and British Film Company funded the development process.
Riklis said, “After The Syrian Bride and Lemon Tree, I thought I completed my ‘Middle East Cycle’ but the fact is that as an Israeli director I feel it’s my duty to touch on the pain, sorrow and complexity of this region, to offer some hope and optimism and to shine a light on the human drama behind and beyond the news headlines.”