Lost in Israel (or … too funny for Hollywood)


Would you have seen the Zohan if Adam Sandler were actually Israeli?

Check out this story in the Los Angeles Times about a hit Israeli film that cannot find an Israeli distributor:

The Israeli producer David (Dudi) Zilber couldn’t be happier about the success of his latest film, "Lost Islands," a comedy about twin brothers in late-1970s Israel who fall in love with the same girl. The film is having its gala U.S. premiere tonight at the Israel Film Festival (it plays at 7:30 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre, with more showings later in the week).

"Lost Islands" was the biggest box-office hit in Israel last year, earning a clutch of good reviews and winning a variety of Israeli film awards.

But for all its commercial success and critical honors, the Reshef Levy-directed film is still missing one key feather in its cap — it has been roundly ignored by every U.S. distributor.

"It’s a big disappointment," Zilber, on the phone from Israel, told me. "Not even one distributor has given us an offer. No one is interested."

Filmmaking in Israel has been in something of a renaissance, with a number of recent films, notably "Waltz With Bashir," "The Band’s Visit" and "Beaufort" (the last of which Zilber produced) all playing the American art-house circuit, earning rave reviews and doing respectable business for foreign imports.

So why wouldn’t anyone want Israel’s biggest hit? Zilber isn’t entirely sure himself, but he offers an intriguing theory: When it comes to foreign imports, U.S. distributors are far more interested in serious, art-house dramas than in popular comedies. In fact, being a big comedy hit in Israel probably makes "Lost Islands" a harder sell than if it were a small, thoughtful adult drama. …

Click here to read the full story.

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