U.S. rights to Eran Riklis' "Zaytoun" have been picked up by Strand Releasing, the company announced yesterday.
"Zaytoun" stars Stephen Dorff ("Somewhere") as an Israeli fighter pilot shot down over Beirut in 1982. After being shot down, he develops an unlikely bond with a 12-year-old Palestinian refugee, and as their initial wariness turns into friendship, they go together on a journey across Lebanon to return the lost pilot home.
After screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, the film won the Runners-Up prize for the People's Choice Award, and had its U.S. premiere at last November's AFI Fest. Riklis' last film, 2010's "The Human Resources Manager," was selected as the Israeli entry for the 83rd Academy Awards.
Rights for the film's U.S. distribution were negotiated by Strand Releasing from Pathe, who will handle the films international sales as well as its French distribution. Jon Gerrans of Strand Releasing said of the acquisition, "We're thrilled to work with Riklis, his previous features are indicative of a filmmaker whose work is definitely in-tune with our tastes."
While no release date is currently set, Strand has plans for a Fall 2013 release.