Helmer with a heart

Prod'n outfit aims for socially conscious pics

"Amreeka" director Cherien Dabis is taking a trip around the globe.

The helmer has formed a production entity, Levantine Entertainment, aimed at developing and producing socially conscious films with global settings and themes.

The Middle East will be a specialty, she said through her agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, which brokered the deal along with reps Jodi Peikoff and Dan Halsted. Funding will come from the private source that financed "Amreeka."

Dabis' films also will go through the banner.

"Amreeka" was well-received at the Sundance Film Festival and subsequently acquired by National Geographic for theatrical distribution. The film, which she wrote and directed, takes a light but serious look at a Palestinian single mother and her son who settle with a family in rural Illinois.

The film was scheduled to screen Tuesday as part of Directors' Fortnight. (partialdiff)