Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Date: 21st April 2012, London: Bedlam Productions, the Academy and multi-award winning producer behind The Kings Speech, announce it will start shooting Zaytoun on 1st April 2012 for 9 weeks in Israel.

To be directed by Eran Riklis (Lemon Tree, The Syrian Bride), the film stars Stephen Dorff (Somewhere, Blade), Alice Taglioni (The Valet, Grande Ecole), Loai Nofi (Lemon Tree, ‘The Promise’), Tarik Kopty (Lemon Tree, Syrian Bride), Ashraf Barhom (The Kingdom, Paradise Now), Ali Suliman (Body of Lies, The Kingdom), Jony Arbid (For My Father, Close to Home) and singer and actress, Mira Awad and features Abdallah El Akel as the Palestinian boy. Fred Ritzenberg of FAR Films developed Zaytoun with Eran Riklis. Gareth Unwin, CEO of Bedlam Productions, boarded after finding the script during DIFF 2010. The script has been penned by the Palestinian scribe Nader Rizq. Dan Laustsen will serve as director of photography (Silent Hill, Solomon Kane) and Herve Schneid will be the editor (Amélie, Delicatessen).

Zaytoun is the story of the unlikely alliance between a ten-year-old Palestinian refugee and an Israeli fighter pilot shot down over Beirut in 1982. Their initial distrust develops into friendship as they make their way across war-torn Lebanon on a journey to a place they both call home.

French speaking territories and international sales rights are being handled by Pathé, United King is handling Israeli distribution rights, while H.W. Buffalo and British Film Company have joined as equity partners. BUF in Paris will also be providing post production services. The project was supported by the BFI Film Fund and British Film Company during its development stage and the film will be the first film to take advantage of the newly ratified UK-Israel Film Coproduction Treaty.

Eran Riklis, director, 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".


Bedlam Productions specialises in high quality drama and documentary for both television and cinema, most recently achieving critical and commercial success with the multi-award winning The Kingʼs Speech, winner of Best Picture at the 2011 Academy Awards.


Frederick Ritzenberg of Far Films has been in the film business for over twenty-five years, writing and producing motion pictures. He produced and directed (with David Leivick) the critically acclaimed feature film, Gospel, and has written screenplays for some of Hollywood’s top name producers.

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