by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani
Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood is a melting pot of cultures and conflicting views among Jews, Muslims and Christians. Back and forth in time, and through the eyes of various characters, we witness how impossible the situation actually is. Sensitive 13-year-old Nasri and his older brother Omar live in fear when their entire family is in danger after their uncle foolishly wounds a prominent clan member. Naive young Palestinian refugee Malek works illegally in Israel to help finance the surgery that will save his mother’s life. Affluent Palestinian Binj dreams of a bright future with his Jewish girlfriend. Jewish policeman Dando is obsessed with finding his missing brother. The tragic fragility of human existence is experienced in the enclosed community of Ajami, where enemies must live as neighbors. No location better expresses the dramatic collision of different worlds.
AJAMI represents a unique reality of both the Palestinian and Israeli cultures. The film’s co-directors, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, reflect the two perspectives of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Despite their different sociopolitical backgrounds, both Scandar and Yaron share the same passion for cinema and humanity. They established a solid friendship while collaborating on the cinematic adventure of »Ajami«. Submerged in their violent reality, together they penetrated the inner world of the people living in Ajami, Jaffa’s largest Arab neighborhood.
YARON SHANI (Writer-Director)
Yaron Shani is an Israeli Jew, born in 1973. He graduated the Tel Aviv University Department of Film and Television with his thesis film »Disphoria«, a 40-minute drama, which won the Audience Award at the Babelsberg International Student Film Festival, as well as a Special Jury Mention at Karlovy vary. The film was broadcast on ARTE and ZDF (Germany), and participated in several other international festivals. As the director of The Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival in 2002, he met Scandar Copti, and they both started to develop their first feature film »Ajami«. In that time, Yaron had directed and edited documentaries and 3D films for Orpan Group, shown in museums and cinema theaters all over the world.
SCANDAR COPTI (Writer-Director)
Scandar Copti is a Palestinian citizen of the Israeli state, born and raised in Jaffa. After graduating from the Israeli polytechnic “The Technion” as a mechanical engineer, he decided to leave his profession and pursue his childhood dream of becoming a filmmaker. After studying acting and scriptwriting, Scandar made »The Truth«, a 12-minute mockumentary which was produced by the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival, and was acclaimed for its bold political statement. »The Truth« was screened at the 2003 Artists Against Occupation in Montreal, and was purchased by the Israeli Channel 8, but was eventually censored and shelved.
Since then Scandar has written, directed and edited several fiction, documentary and experimental short films. His video art works were screened at the Israeli Center for Digital Art, the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Redding Art Fair 5 in Tel-Aviv.
Shahir Kabaha - Omar
Ibrahim Frege - Malek
Fouad Habash - Nasri
Youssef Sahwani - Abu Elias
Ranin Karim - Hadir
Eran Naim - Dando
Scandar Copti - Binj
Director: Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti
Screenplay: Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti
Producers: Mosh Danon and Thanassis Karathanos
Co-Producer: Talia Kleinhendler
Executive Producers: Rupert Preston, Allan Niblo, James Richardson
Director of Photography: Boaz Yehonatan Yakov
Art Director: Yoav Sinai
A production of Inosan Productions Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion
In co-production with ZDF - Das kleine Fernsehspiel
In co-operation with arte
With the support of the Israel Film Fund, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, World Cinema Fund
Format: / 35 mm / 25 fps / 1:1,85 / Colour / Dolby Digital
Length: 120 Min.
Original Language: Arabic and Hebrew
Original title: Ajami