“Zaytoun,” which played at Toronto in September, is a Bedlam/Far Films production with Gareth Unwin and Fred Ritzenberg producing. It centers on an unlikely alliance between a 12-year-old Palestinian refugee and an Israeli fighter pilot shot down over Beirut in 1982 as their initial distrust develops into friendship as they make their way across war-torn Lebanon.
Ritzenberg initially developed “Zaytoun” with Riklis. The script was penned by Palestinian scribe Nader Rizq.
Movie won a runners-up prize for the People’s Choice Award at Toronto and premiered in the U.S. at the AFI FestIval. John Anderson gave the film a positive review for Variety at Toronto, calling it “an accessible, briskly paced and occasionally schematic adventure that could find its way into the hearts of unlikely auds via a kid-centric story and a solid perf by Stephen Dorff.”
Pathe is handling international sales as well as distributing the film in France. United King is handling Israeli distribution rights, with Senator taking Germany, CCC in Japan, Artificial Eye in UK, Transmission for Australia/New Zealand and “A” Film for Benelux.
The deal was done between Jon Gerrans of Strand and Muriel Sauzay of Pathe International.