Sundance: Israel-Palestine Spy Documentary Sells to Music Box Films
Music Box Films has acquired all U.S. rights excluding TV to Nadav Schirman's The Green Prince, a tense tale of seeming adversaries, a spy and a handler.
The Sundance documentary feature follows Mosab Hassan Yousef, a Palestinian in Ramallah, who wants to fight Israel. At 17, he was arrested for smuggling guns, interrogated by Israel's security service, the Shin Bet, and sent to prison. Under the direction of his Shin Bet handler, Gonen, Mosab eventually agrees to spy for Israel, after being shocked by Hamas' ruthless tactics in prison and the rising suicide bombings in the outside world.
Schirman, whose credits include In the Darkroom and The Champagne Spy, directed the film. He, along with John Battsek and Simon Chinn, also produced the film.
The Green Prince, which is based on Yousef's memoir titled Son of Hamas, premiered at The MARC on Jan. 16. It competed in the World Documentary competition.
"We were thrilled by the audience's response at Sundance, so it's hugely exciting to be working with such seasoned distribution partners as Music Box Films to bring the film to American cinemagoers," Schirman said.
Further negotiations for international territories are currently in the works, next to the already closed deals for the U.K. (Curzon) and Australia and New Zealand (Madman Entertainment), which were sold during this year's Sundance.
The U.S. deal was negotiated by Josh Braun and David Koh of Submarine, on behalf of Global Screen, and Ed Arentz and William Schopf of Music Box Films.
Music Box will release the film theatrically later this year in order to qualify for Academy Award consideration.
"We're excited to be working with director Nadav Schirman and his producing team of John Battsek and Simon Chinn to bring this truly remarkable film to U.S. audiences," Arentz and Schopf said in a statement. "It's an edge-of-your-seat espionage thriller, a tale of an unlikely friendship that unfolds between adversaries and an incredible story of a young man's courageous personal, political and spiritual transformation."
Thomas Weymar, Sheryl Crown and Maggie Monteith executive produced the film, while Omri Uzrad and Britta Meyermann co-produced.