By John Hopewell
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Israel’s Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, whose “Big Bad Wolves” became a 2013 festival sensation, winning the endorsement of Quentin Tarantino, have set their follow-up: “Once Upon a Time in Palestine.”
Written by Keshales, Papushado and Ehud Lavski (“Things I Saw Before I Went Blind”), the genre-bending thriller “Once Upon a Time” is set in 1946 Palestine still under a British rule whose authorities determine to execute five members of Irgun, the Israeli para-military freedom fighters. Keen on earning their spurs as future members of the resistance, three teenagers decide to kidnap two British soldiers and use them as leverage.
Producers Avraham Pirchi, Chilik Michaeli and Lilach Sonin from Israeli production company United Channels Movies (UCM), which produced “Big Bad Wolves” and “Matter of Size,” will present the new project to Cannes’ financiers.
“Once Upon a Time in Palestine” is an “at times funny and at times nerve-wracking portrayal of Israel’s birth of a nation, a kidnap thriller packed with shocking twists, touches of dark comedy and even romance,” its directors (pictured, Keshales, left, Papushado, right, flanking “Big Bad Wolves” actor Lior Ashkenazi) said in a statement.
It tells the untold story of one of the most tragic events that happened during the British rule of Palestine, Michaeli explained, adding that, although inspired by true events, they would be told through an “epic tale” as a “bittersweet coming-of-age story.”
Michael added: “It’s the directors’ most ambitious project to date as it aspires to blend elements from spaghetti Westerns, war movies, romantic comedies and even silent films.”