Israeli Director Chosen for Berlin Film Residency

Program brings directors with a film in progress to the German capital to finish the script.

Director and screenwriter Samuel Maoz ("Lebanon" ) was chosen as one of six participants in the Berlinale Residency Program, which brings directors with a film in progress to the German capital to finish the script.

Participants are given an apartment in Berlin for four months, as well as a living stipend and the chance to consult with experienced cinema professionals on production and marketing strategy.

The residency is a new project of the Berlin International Film Festival. The six filmmakers will present their projects to the coproduction market at the festival in February 2013, in an effort to begin production immediately afterward.

The other participants are directors from Iran (Rafi Pitts ), Ireland (Rebecca Daly ), Chile (Matias Bize ), the Philippines (Raya Martin ) and Netherlands (Sacha Polak ).

Maoz described his project as "a post-war film, which deals with [war's] aftereffects. It tries to deal with broader ideas, about those moments when we try to play God, but in the end we discover he's laughing at us."

The film will be "critical of a society that's become morally corrupt, about how we've learned to get ratings out of everything, of how every military operation of ours turns into a television drama, and how, in the midst of all this, we also sell laundry powder and tampons, on the blood of our children," he said.

He hastened to add, however, "It won't be a totally bleak film; there'll be smiles in it, too."

Maoz, who plans to begin production next year, says he has already made contact with producers who've shown interest in his film. And he has no reservations about the fact that an Iranian filmmaker will also be participating in the Berlin program.

"I was recently chosen as a judge for the Asian Oscar, and there I sat with my wife and 12 Iranians, including the director of "A Separation" [which beat the Israeli contender "Footnote" for an Oscar this year]," he said.

"They said 'Lebanon' had become a hit on the Iranian black market, after the director [Mohsen] Makhmalbaf recommended it to his students."