Acclaimed Israeli film 'Tel Aviv on Fire' picks up U.S. distribution deal

The film won the top prize at the Haifa Film Festival and a number of other plaudits.

October 11, 2018 14:21
1 minute read.
A SCENE from 'Tel Aviv on Fire' by Samach Zuabi.

A SCENE from 'Tel Aviv on Fire' by Samach Zuabi. . (photo credit: ISRAEL FILM FUND)


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Tel Aviv on Fire, a film about the inner workings of a Palestinian soap opera, will be distributed in the US by Cohen Media.

According to an exclusive report in Variety on Wednesday, the movie has also closed or is about to close deals to distribute the film in a variety of European countries.

The comedy, directed by Samach Zuabi, held its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival last month. The film picked up a best actor award for its star, Israeli-Palestinian actor Kais Nashif. It went on to appear at the Toronto International Film Festival and it then it took the top prize at the Haifa Film Festival earlier this month.

The movie tells the story of Salam, a Jerusalem resident who commutes each day to his job in Ramallah on a soap opera called Tel Aviv on Fire. The show, popular among both Israelis and Palestinians, features a Palestinian spy sent in 1967 to steal secrets from a clueless Israeli general. Salam’s commute leads him to regular encounters with the IDF officer who runs the checkpoint he passes through each day. The officer soon begins demanding Salam change the soap opera’s story line to make his wife happy, which – at first – only benefits the writer’s career.

The film received part of its funding from the Israel Film Fund.

The Hollywood Reporter called the movie a “modest little charmer [which] presents a lighter side of the long and ongoing crisis.”

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