September 24, 2013 - 17:10 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Adopt Films has acquired all U.S. rights to Yuval Adler‘s debut feature Bethlehem, Deadline said.
The movie premiered in Venice before heading to Telluride and Toronto. It’s also received 12 nominations at the Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Taking place largely in Jerusalem and the West Bank, it focuses on an Israeli Secret Service officer and his teenage Palestinian informant, the younger brother of a sought-after militant.
Adler co-wrote the screenplay with Ali Waked. Tsahi Halevi, Sahdi Marei, Haitham Omari, and Hisham Suliman star.
Producers are Talia Kleinhendler and Osnat Handelsman-Keren for Tel Aviv based Pie Films, and Diana Elbaum and Sebastian Delloye of Entre Chien et Loup.
Adopt’s Tim Grady and Jeff Lipsky negotiated the deal with WestEnd Film’s Maya Amsellem.
Grady and Lipsky liken the film to Argo, except that the audience “doesn’t know in advance what will happen to the very charismatic characters at the end of the film and, thus, the suspense is unyielding from the very start. We were literally shaking when we left the Toronto screening and were determined to release it.” They will do so in late winter next year.
“Set on both sides of the fiercely contested border between Israel and Palestine, this punchy espionage thriller aims to compress the most entrenched conflict in the Middle East into a tense personal drama of trust and betrayal, inevitably sacrificing subtlety and complexity in the process.
Bethlehem is the debut feature by the Israeli writer-director Yuval Adler, who holds a PhD in philosophy from Columbia University and once studied acting at New York’s famous Lee Strasberg Theater School. Co-written by Palestinian journalist Ali Waked, it is a modestly gripping but thumpingly earnest affair that lacks the stylistic originality or emotional depth of other recent crossover films addressing this rich subject -- notably Waltz With Bashir and Paradise Now.
…Bethlehem is not a knockout debut, but it was clearly made by a confident new talent in Middle Eastern cinema.” a review published in the Hollywood Reporter said.