Dutch producer Bero Beyer is staying balanced in the minefield of Mideast politics by co-producing two features — one Israeli and the other Palestinian — at the same time.
Beyer, who previously produced the Oscar-nominated “Paradise Now,” is working with Palestinian helmer Annemarie Jacir on her feature debut “Salt of the Sea” and with Israeli helmer Ra’anan Alexandrowitcz “The Miracle of Mont Egleni.”
“Salt” is a darkly comic drama about three Palestinians who go into hiding after robbing an Israeli bank. Lead role will be played by Suheir Hammad, the Palestinian-American poet who became the first-ever Palestinian to win a Tony award thanks to her performances as part of the Def Poetry Jam on Broadway.
“Miracle” follows misadventures of a poor Israeli immigrant family who find themselves housed in the same lodgings as a Palestinian family in a provincial French village.
Beyer got involved with the two projects as a result of his work with Euromed workshop Mediterranean Films Crossing Borders.
“I got to meet a lot of people in and around Palestine and Israel. The funny thing was that everyone knew each other,” Berye said. “The workshops were split half and half between Israelis and Arabs. It’s nice to see that working so well because in the past you’d only see a few Israelis.”
“Salt” is set to shoot on location in Ramallah in May. The $1.3 million project is receiving coin from investors in America, Spain, Berlgium, Switzerland and the U.K.
Jacir’s acript also received funding from Hubert Bals Fund. Beyer is co-producing with French shingle JBA along with his own shingle Augustus.
Alexandrowitcz’s project is costlier at $2.5 million.
Beyer is also prepping his own project “The Myra Project,” which may lead to reunion with “Paradise” helmer Hany Abu-Assad.
“In a Godless world, the Messiah is just another prophet,” is all Beyer will say about the drama which will look at religion’s role in the world today.
As for why the Dutchman keeps working in the MidEast, his answer was clearer.
“I feel that something is really moving there right now,’ he says, before adding, “There’s also the fact that I haven’t made any Dutch films.”