The Weinstein Company has acquired North American theatrical rights from Pathé to Julian Schnabel's latest film Miral. The film chronicles Hind Husseini's efforts to establish an orphanage in Jerusalem after the 1948 partition of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. Miral is based on a novel by Rula Jebreal, who also wrote the screenplay, stars Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and is produced by Jon Kilik (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Before Night Falls, Babel, Dead Man Walking, Malcolm X). The deal was announced by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Co-Chairman of The Weinstein Company. The Weinstein Company plans to release the film later this year.
Jerusalem, 1948. On her way to work, Hind Husseini (Hiam Abbass) comes across 55 orphaned children in the street. She takes them home to give them food and shelter. Within six months, 55 had grown to almost 2000, and the Dar Al-Tifel Institute was born. In 1978, at the age of 5, Miral (Pinto) was sent to the Institute by her father following her mother's death. Brought up safely inside the Institute's walls, she is naïve to the troubles that surround her. Then, at the age of 17, she is assigned to teach at a refugee camp where she is awakened to the reality of her people's struggle. When she falls for political activist she finds herself torn between the fight for the future of her people and Mama Hind's belief that education is the road to peace. Miral co-stars Willem Dafoe and Vanessa Redgrave.
"I have always believed that movies can have an impact on society, and even affect change," said Julian Schnabel. "I particularly believe in the power of the individual voice that is possible with independent films. Since their beginnings, as an independent film company, the brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein have created a special place for such films, and championed them, in the United States, and also across the world. I worked with the Weinsteins on my first film, Basquiat, and I am pleased to be working with them once again, on my new film, Miral. I have enormous confidence in their tenacity, in their fearlessness, and in their commitment to present multiple perspectives. They have my total faith on Miral."
"I am thrilled to be back in business with Julian Schnabel," stated Harvey Weinstein. "This film is truly a challenge for me to take on personally and professionally. It is the first film I am involved in that shows the "other side" of the Israeli / Palestine conflict. As a staunch supporter of Israel I thought this would be a movie I would have a hard time wrapping my head around. However, meeting Rula moved me to open my heart and mind and I hope we can do the same with audiences worldwide."
The film was personally acquired by Harvey Weinstein and was brokered by Peter Lawson and Laine Kline from The Weinstein Company and Cameron McCracken and Pierre du Plessis from Pathé.
Miral will open later this year. With another conflict erupting in Israel hopefully the film will shed more light on the issues in the region and help build the road toward understanding.