Sayed Kashua - Emil Salman
Sayed Kashua Photo by Emil Salman
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The first book written by Israeli Arab author Sayed Kashua will be made into a movie directed by Eran Riklis. Kashua, a Haaretz columnist, also wrote the script for the film, based on his book "Dancing Arabs." Plans for the movie, which is to be a coproduction involving five countries - Israel, Germany, France, Belgium and Canada - were announced Saturday in Berlin. The movie will have a budget of $3 million and will be shot in Israel this year.

The story centers around an Israeli Arab boy who, thanks to his scholastic achievements, is sent to a Jewish boarding school and gradually discovers the advantages of taking on the identity of one of his friends, a Jew.

The film has received financial support from the Israel Film Fund and the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund. Casting will begin in the coming months.

Although it was reported in 2009 that the Brazilian-born Katia Lund had been chosen to direct "Dancing Arabs," the film's producers now say the project will be given to Riklis.

Said Chilik Michaeli, speaking from Berlin yesterday: "We thought Eran was the right director for this project because it's a film with a European orientation and Eran is a director who is known in Europe ... Katia, on the other hand, is Brazilian and this European orientation is foreign to her."

In September, Riklis won the Israeli Ophir award for best film for "The Human Resources Manager."