TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Heat Wave

Fareed Ramadan, Riyad Deis



Heat wave is a drama/black comedy that takes place in Jerusalem during an unusually hot summer. The film tells the stories of five people who are going through an exceptional period of their life.

Abu Khalil, an old shopkeeper has one mission to accomplish before he dies: to buy a grave near Alaqsa mosque. Despite all his planning, he ends up being buried in the family cemetery.
Lilian, one of Abu Khalil’s customers and an old love, desperately wants to connect to her son who died in a mysterious accident when he was a child. One night she encounters a saint in the empty streets. He carries her groceries and helps her get in touch with her son.
Hassan, a young man who works for Abu Khalil, discovers that he can only marry his fiancée after he fulfills his mother’s will: he has to go to Hajj on her behalf.

Faris on the verge of getting divorced and having an affair has to deal with his new neighbor, Mayer, who just moved from New York. Mayer, while renovating his new house, falls through the wall into Faris’ house. Frustrated because of the political situation and his personal problems, Faris ends up holding Mayer captive in his house, not knowing why.
During this hot weather; things reach an unexpected turning point for each of the characters.


Heat Wave is a 90 minutes satirical comedy where reality is presented in an exaggerated fashion. As the name of the title implies, the whole film will take place during a summer heat wave, so we will see the effect of the high temperatures on the people and how they respond to this unusual summer. It will look at how heat affects their behavior, their surroundings and their relations with others.

Heat Wave is inspired by my experience and memories as a Palestinian born three years after the 1967 war, in a city under occupation. I did not understand what it meant to have a foreign army control our city, until one day in the early eighties when my older brother and I where entering the Damascus gate, and my brother got slapped by an Israeli soldier. I don’t remember why and how but later that day we laughed about it. We found it funny because it was a hot summer day and demeanor had been languid and the slap was so sudden that my brother did not see it coming.

In this film, I see Jerusalem, which is known for its seriousness, religious fanaticism and political upheaval, as a source of laughter. It often happens that moments of laughter can arise from serious situations and what more can one ask for than Jerusalem as a setting for these scenarios. The city inhabits many different religions and cultures that include Muslims, Christians, Jews, Armenians, Black Africans and Gypsies. Jerusalem has been at the center of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis and a resolution for the city is a major element for there to be a lasting solution. But while a solution continues to be negotiated, the inhabitants live their daily lives and some have come to believe that a resolution may never be found.

It is from the reality of everyday life in Jerusalem that I got the inspiration for this film. The stories of the characters from the film are all inspired in some way by accounts and memories of people who live in the city. The film is based on the multilayered plot lines of five main characters. Although the stories of each character are not linked, the parallelism amongst them will be created in the way the film is edited so that their different lives are interwoven to create one story. We will also use editing to emphasize the comedic aspect of the film, to highlight the characters’ dilemmas and bring humor into situations.

In general, the style of the film will have a humoristic approach, with all that it carries along with it in terms of mise-en-scène. It also will stick to the basic comedy rules of exaggeration, repetition and surprises.

distribution & sales

Heat Wave is intended to be a new wave of cinema production in Palestine, both in the way it is produced and the subject matter. This film will come at a time when the political situation in the Middle East is still unclear and there are new things happening every day. The eyes of the world will always be directed at this area and it never disappoints the spectator of surprises and new realities. Jerusalem, which is at the center of the region and one of its main sources of troubles, is also the main character of this film. Through the city, the story of the film will be told but unlike what we have seen before, in this film, the city will have humor to it. There are many reasons why we decided to shoot the film in Jerusalem. One is the artistic side and what the location has to offer in terms of architecture, light and depth. In addition, one location for all of the scenes has a production advantage in terms of reducing travel expenses and saving time. The third reason of deciding to shoot in the old city is because of the cast. The cast of the film will not specifically be chosen because of their previous acting experience in theatre or cinema, but more for their physical look and realistic embodiment of the role and their originality. Therefore, most of the actors and actress will be first time actors who are residents of the old city. Their houses and shops are the set of the scenes. The film will be directed to international audiences between the ages of 25 to 80, especially a European audience interested in world cinema. The film is made up of characters from three generations; young people in their twenties and the challenges they go through with socio-political obstacles, and middle age and senior citizens. This film is a perfect family film that tells the story of family tales in a humorous way. The film has three forms of romantic stories, the first and the most unique one is between two senior citizens, in addition there are two more romantic story lines in the younger generation. The development strategy of the film will consist of securing seed money to complete script development and then to get things going into the financing and pre-production stages. To achieve this, the project is participating in various film market events and building networks of contacts from different countries. A European producer is about to join the project and so our main funding will come from Europe. However, the Arab states will also be as important source for funding. The various funds from the Gulf always encourage and are interested in Palestinian cinema and it annually supports Palestinian film production. There are two main goals for producing “Heat Wave”. First we want to produce a successful film and second to break the ground for small budget cinema production in Palestine. The total budget of the film is about USD 475,000, which is a reasonable budget to raise in a fairly short time. A local Palestinian production company will manage the production on the ground and will secure all permits and locations in the old city. In short, we believe “Heat Wave” is a good business and artistic project that has great potential to be popular with international audiences.

This is Jerusalem and it’s hot, hot, hot! Emotions and tempers run high. Some are looking for love, some for salvation and some for peace, but everybody is looking for ways to escape the heat!
Fareed Ramadan

Riyad Deis

Film Director, Production

production notes

directed by
Riyad Deis

produced byJanan Films
10 Masyoun Street

written by
Riyad Deis, Fareed Ramadan

total production budget
€ 475.000

current financial need
€ 475.000