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La Biennale di Venezia

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Tel Aviv On Fire

Sameh Zoabi
Samsa Film (Bernard Michaux), TS Productions (Gilles Sacuto, Miléna Poylo), Lama Films (Amir Harel), Artémis Productions (Patrick Quinet)
Running Time:
Arabic, Hebrew
Luxembourg, France, Israel, Belgium
Main Cast:
Kais Nashif, Lubna Azabal, Yaniv Biton, Nadim Sawalha, Maïsa Abd Elhadi, Salim Daw, Yousef Sweid, Amer Hlehel, Ashraf Farah, Laëtitia Eïdo
Dan Kleinman, Sameh Zoabi
Laurent Brunet
Catherine Schwartz
Production Designer:
Christina Schaffer
Costume Designer:
Magdalena Labuz
Andre Dziezuk
Alain Sironval, Mourad Louanchi, Pia Dumont, David Gillain


Salam, a charming 30-year-old Palestinian living in Jerusalem, works as an intern on the popular Palestinian soap opera Tel Aviv on Fire, produced in Ramallah. Every day Salam must pass through an arduous Israeli checkpoint to reach the television studios. He meets the commander of the check point, Assi, whose wife is a huge fan of the show. In order to impress her, Assi gets involved in the writing of the show. Salam soon realises that Assi’s ideas could get him a promotion as a screenwriter. His creative career catches fire, until Assi and the show’s financial backers disagree on how the soap opera should end. Squeezed between an Army officer and the Arab backers, Salam can only solve his problems with a final master stroke.

Director’s Statement

As a Palestinian writer- director who tells stories about daily reality in my homeland, I carry with me a certain ethical and political responsibility. I became aware of this responsibility through sharing my previous films with local and international audiences. I saw how easily film can bring out the Palestinian-Israeli clash of narratives. There were those who thought my films were “too Palestinian”, “insufficiently Israeli” or the total opposite. We make films to tell stories and communicate a perspective on the world as we know it, but the interpretation of our work is ultimately beyond our control. With Tel Aviv on Fire, I decided to write a story dealing directly with the subject of conflicting perspectives. My central character is an aspiring writer who struggles to find his voice and inspiration in a politically charged reality.
Similar to my previous film, the tone is comedic – not to make light of a situation that is more dire than ever before, but rather to use the insights that comic exaggeration can bring. As Charlie Chaplin put it, “to truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it”.


PRODUCTION 1: Samsa Film
238c Rue de Luxembourg,
L-8077 – Bertrange, Luxembourg
Tel. +352 4519601

PRODUCTION 2: TS Productions
73, rue Notre Dame des champs
75006 – Paris, France
Tel. +33 (0) 153102400

PRODUCTION 3: Lama Films
22 Sderot Chen
6416603 - Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel.+3 (0) 972-3-6850430

PRODUCTION 4: Artémis Productions
19, rue Général Gratry
1030 – Bruxelles, Belgium
Tel. +32 (0) 221623 24

WORLD SALES:Indiesales
32 Rue Washington
75008 – Paris, France
Tel. +33 (0) 1 44 83 02 27

Barbara Van Lombeek barbara@theprfactory.com + 32 486 54 64 80
Marie-France Dupagne mariefrance@theprfactory.com +32 477 62 67 70
Julie Vanderhaeghen julie@theprfactory.com +32 473 37 38 07

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Biennale Cinema
Biennale Cinema