’Men in the Sun,’ about Palestinian refugees, set to close financing

For the producers of an international co-production about Palestinian refugees in Athens, it seemed that the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel and the subsequent bombing and occupation of Gaza by Israeli forces could derail the plan.

But although the conflict, which has claimed the lives of more than 1,200 Israelis and more than 15,500 Palestinians, has affected the filming of the Palestine/UK/Greece and European co-production „Men in the Sun” – it is due to close financing. The Red Sea Film Festival this week – set to wrap up post-production in London by May next year – will premiere at what producer Jeff Orborne will only describe as „a major international film festival”.

„There was consternation when the conflict began, but production that had begun five weeks ago was delayed by only a day,” said Orborne of Inside Out Films in the UK. Variety At the festival.

„We started shooting in Athens a week ago and will finish in mid-December when post-production starts in London.”

Directed by Dubai-born Mahdi Pliefel, the film is about two Palestinian refugees living in Athens who find themselves in a hostage situation as they seek revenge on their kidnappers.

It draws on Fleifel’s experience documenting the lives of refugees living on the fringes of Greek society over the past decade.

The film — to be released under a yet-to-be-decided, different title — is backed by ARTE/ZDF, the Doha Film Institute, the Red Sea Fund and national funds in the Netherlands and Greece.

With all but $90,000 of its more than $1 million budget already in place, Arbourne hopes to close financing on Jeddah this week.

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„We need to show eight minutes of our film to prospective buyers and are already in talks with global sales agents like Goodfellas and MK2 and distributors in the MENA region like Cinewaves and Front Row to finalize the financing,” he said. said.

Although War in Gaza failed to improve the plot, Orborne said it had a personal impact on the Palestinian members of its cast and crew.

„Due to the war, we had trouble getting some crew and non-cast members to Athens, and daily availability for those who were able to come to the conflict. We are on set with family members in Gaza who die during this war.

„We have to be sensitive and make sure people on set are supported and have a place to talk about what’s going on.”

Although the film touches on two political topics, the plight of refugees and Palestinians, it aims to convey a universal story of what life is like for exiles, he said.

„I don’t think it’s a 'Palestinian’ film – it’s a film about exiles in general. The world is dealing with this topic right now – from Ukraine to Palestine. What audiences really want is to understand the conditions of life for exiles.

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