Gareth Unwin. On a mission
Photo: Getty Images

'King's Speech' producer backs Israeli cinema

Gareth Unwin takes part in Haifa Film Festival in bid to advance joint production contract between Israel, Britain

After winning four Academy Awards for "King's Speech", including Best Picture, producer Gareth Unwin is the most popular filmmaker in the world today. He recently participated in the Haifa International Film Festival as president of the Israeli contest's panel of judges.


"But I'm here on another mission," the 39-year-old British producer revealed. "During the festival I must complete the joint production contract about to be signed between Israel and Britain.


"I am here with a delegation of prominent British cinema officials, and we'll finally be able to sign an agreement which will further the Israeli cinema even more worldwide."


"One of the sweet fruit of cooperation," Unwin says, "is the film 'Zeitoun', which I am about to produce in Israel. It's a humane and heartwarming film about coexistence between an Israel Air Force pilot and a Palestinian boy from Lebanon.


"The pilot, whose plane who shot down in Lebanon, parachutes into enemy territory. A 12-year-old Palestinian boy promises to help him cross the Israeli border as long as the pilot leads him to the Palestinian village where his grandfather lives.


"Seemingly it's a thriller, and the two escape from Hezbollah men, from Syrian soldiers chasing them and from IDF soldier guarding the border. Eventually, the pilot and the boy develop a friendship and loyalty which transcend borders," explain Unwin, a pleasant man with mischievous eyes and a smile hiding a strong, charismatic personality.


The screenplay was written by Naider Rizak, a Palestinian living in the United States.

"The moment I finished reading the script and had tears in my eyes, I knew it was the next film I would produce.


"After watching 'Lemon Tree' and 'The Syrian Bride', my natural choice was their director, Eran Riklis."


The movie will be filmed in Israel in the coming spring. Meanwhile, Unwin and Riklis are looking in Israel, the Palestinian territories, France and Britain for an actor to play the 12-year-old boy.



פרסום ראשון: 10.24.11, 08:32
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