By MICHAEL ROSSER | Screendaily.com
HanWay Films has acquired international sales rights to Amos Gitai’s Laila In Haifa, ahead of its world premiere in competition at the Venice Film Festival (Sept 2-12).
The UK sales outfit will also now handle international sales for the Israeli director’s back catalogue of work.
Laila In Haifa is set over one fateful night in a club in the port town of Haifa and explores the interweaving stories of five women. The film aims to present a snapshot of contemporary life in one of the last remaining spaces where Israelis and Palestinians come together to engage in face-to-face relationships.
The Israel-France co-production is from AGAV Films, CDP and United King Film in association with Patrick Jeanneret, Andrea Di Nardo, and Ruth and Stephen Hendel.
Gitai has a long history with Venice, dating back to 1989 when his drama Berlin-Jerusalem played in competition. His other titles to have played in competition at the festival include Eden (2001), Alila (2003), Promised Land (2004), Ana Arabia (2013) and Rabin: The Last Day (2015).
Following the announcement that the film had been selected for Venice, Gitai said: “This is a special moment after the anxieties, economic worries, viruses, political viruses of the past year for cinema to speak up, make us feel and think.
“Our film is (as most films are) an assembly of new and experienced actresses and actors alongside team members of Israeli and Palestinian origin. After all, the stage is the creative meeting space where we are able to speak out in the language of film.”
Gitai, originally an architect, completed his first documentary House in 1980 telling the story of a dwelling in Jerusalem and the aspirations of Palestinians for their homeland. To date, his works include more than 80 titles.
The full list of Gitai films being handled by HanWay are: Esther (1986), Berlin Jerusalem (1989), Golem: Spirit of Exile (1992), The Petrified Garden (1993), Devarim (1995), The Arena of Murder (1996), Yom Yom (1998), Kadosh (1999), Kippur (2000), Kedma (2002), Alila (2003), Promised Land (2003), One Day You’ll Understand (2008), Carmel (2009), Roses a Credit (2010), Lullaby To My Father (2011), Ana Arabia (2013), Tsili (2014), Rabin The Last Day (2015), West of The Jordan River (2017), A Tramway in Jerusalem (2018) and Laila in Haifa (2020). Three further titles are currently under negotiation.