Israeli-Iranian history was made when an Israeli director received an invitation to participate in the annual Iranian film festival in Tehran this week.
The film, an Israeli-German collaboration titled "More than 100 words", follows Israeli photographer Ziv Koren over a two-year period, as he documents different aspects of the Middle East conflict.
In a special event marking the 25th anniversary of Tehran's annual festival, a series of movies dealing with the second Lebanon war and the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation will be screened.
More than 1000 words, an award-winning movie directed by Solo Avital, will be displayed alongside these movies in the festival opening this Thursday.
The movie was filmed in the midst of the second intifada and scenes from the second Lebanon war were also filmed.
The invitation to the festival was sent to the German distributors of the movie, saying "in light of recent events in Beirut, we are planning a special program titled 'Beirut in the eyes of movie directors' where we will screen movies dealing with Beirut and the struggle of the Palestinian people. I feel that the movie 'More than 1000 words' would be a very good choice for our program."
Avital was very surprised by this, and said in an interview to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that "the movie is not pro-Palestinian, and it is clear that it was made by an Israeli. It's a very balanced movie."
Avital's initial reaction to the invitation was that there was no way he would send his movie to Iran after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent statements and the second Lebanon war.
"Afterwards, things Iranian friends told me in Berlin started to sink in, that there's another side to Iran, and that many Iranians oppose the current regime. After hearing about the students' rally at the University of Tehran, and that they prevented Ahmadinejad from speaking, I decided there is no reason why I should keep them from seeing the movie," explained Avital.
Koren, the photographer starring in the movie said, "This is an extraordinary opportunity to show the Iranians a movie about life in Israel… The movie is a mirror to the Israeli society and presents my feelings as a man living in Tel Aviv. I hope the human message will get through."
Unfortunately, Avital and Koren will not be able to attend the festival in person, since they both hold Israeli passports and would not be allowed in Iran.