Date: 24 JULY 2012, London: Bedlam Productions, the Academy and multi-award winning producer behind The Kings Speech, and FAR Films are delighted to announce that their latest film Zaytoun has been selected as a Special Presentation at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.
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) singer and actress, Mira Awad and features Abdallah El Akal as the Palestinian boy.
Fred Ritzenberg of FAR Films initially developed Zaytoun with Eran Riklis. Gareth Unwin, CEO of Bedlam Productions, boarded after being pitched the script during DIFF 2010. The script was penned by first time writer Palestinian scribe Nader Rizq. Dan Laustsen served as director of photography (Silent Hill, Solomon Kane) and Herve Schneid was the editor (Amélie, Delicatessen).
Zaytoun is the story of the unlikely alliance between a 12 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.
International sales rights are being handled by Pathé, who will also distribute the film in France. United King is handling Israeli distribution rights. Zaytoun is the first film to take advantage of the newly ratified UK-Israel Film Coproduction Treaty.
Director Eran Riklis said, “Zaytoun is a road movie, a war movie, a buddy movie. I wanted it to be serious and yet full of humour, realistic and yet a fantasy, true to the region and yet universal. I believe the result is all of the above with my view of the fragile, explosive, pessimistic, seldom optimistic fabric of the Middle East and its never ending conflicts.”
Producers Gareth Unwin and Fred Ritzenberg said, “We are delighted to have been selected for Toronto this year. Zaytoun has been a truly international collaboration from the beginning, and so it is fantastic to now have a platform to present it at one of the most prestigious international film festivals in the world.”
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