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'Losing Shalit' Coming to Theaters Near You

Production being completed on first of film trilogy about Shalit kidnapping, Gaza 'film industry in spirit of resistance.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 1/30/2014, 11:53 PM

Newly released Gilad Shalit with Binyamin Netanyahu
Newly released Gilad Shalit with Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

Production is being completed in Gaza on "Losing Shalit," a movie about the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006 by the terrorist organization Hamas that rules Gaza.

Shalit was kidnapped while on patrol near Gaza and held for more than 5 years. In 2011 he was released in exchange for 1,027 terrorists.

Majd Jundiya, the film's director, declared, "I'm establishing in Gaza a film industry in the spirit of the resistance. In effect, my movies reveal the Palestinian story, and star Palestinian actors," reports Mako.

The movie, which is a feature-length film and the first in a trilogy, was announced last September; Hamas reported it had invested $100,000 to produce the film with Al-Wataniya, a local media company. The terror organization boasts of the kidnapping as one of its greatest accomplishments.

Recent reports indicate that amount will be $95,000; Jundiya put the total expense at $120,000, and said the actual costs might be double that amount.

However, Jundiya rejects the notion that his "artistic freedom" has been bought, saying "I'm not Hamas, I'm a Palestinian proud of his people that continues his resistance to the occupation."

Jundiya studied screenwriting in Germany in 1980. After returning to Gaza in 1996 he occupied himself with making documentary films about life in the area and local soap operas.

Aside from power outages under the Egyptian siege and from Israeli restrictions following rocket attacks, the main difficulty standing in the movie's way has been linguistic.

"I have a real hard time speaking Hebrew," admits Mahmoud Karira, the 27-year-old Gaza resident casted to play Shalit due to his vague resemblance. "I only have 8 lines in Hebrew, but even though I read them dozens of times before filming we still had to re-shoot some of them."