TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding



Ahmad Abunasser, Mohammed Abunasser, Rashid Abdelhamid

Palestine, France


Khalil is an odd-man-out film director in the midst of a complete identity crisis. In his war-torn hometown of Gaza in Palestine; where the balance between religion, tradition and culture is skewed to conservative extremes; Khalil struggles through the writing of a script for a film to find the right path for his life.

Encouraged by his long-time friend and producer Hassan, he keeps submitting the script to local authorities to get the necessary permits and funds, but he is confronted with the growing influence of radical religious movements that have taken hold of his city.
While waiting for official approval, Khalil, firmly determined, drags through location scouting and local castings, observing the town’s colourful characters going about their days.
These absurd and comic portraits of the townsfolk present different aspects of his thoughts, emotions and memories and represent the phases of his lifelong search for truth.

In the end, in spite of the stubborn mentality of the local authorities and the growing pressure of the Islamic extremists, Khalil decides to organize a big casting session, which announces the beginning of the production of his feature film.


Inspired by our own experiences of making films in Gaza and especially the absurd difficulties we face, it comes naturally to want to tell a story about making movies against the tide and in a prohibitive context.

Using humour to describe a situation the whole population is trapped in, and through an ensemble of burlesque urban vignettes that repeat and slowly evolve in the wake of life’s surreal monotony in contemporary Gaza, Casting draws a portrait of a whole society and explores the dialectics of time, place and identity.

Widening the context of Gaza to any place where someone is struggling to produce art in the midst of social and institutional restrictions, we ask the broader question of how artists are supposed to work toward the betterment of their society, when there is a fundamental distrust of culture itself.

The script for Casting is now in the final stages of development. Our cinematographic vision, (which relies on a realist style in the spirit of European filmmakers like Jacques Tati, Emir Kusturica and Roy Andersson) uses long scenes and slow tracking movements in order to heighten the sense of time and reflect the protagonist’s experience of reality. A range of eccentric yet archetypal characters (to be played by non professional actors in order to add to the sense of spontaneity and realism) will help to transmit a universal vignette of time and place.
As filmmakers, we believe cinema to be, through entertainment, an important instrument of social critique, development and awakening. This film is our attempt to highlight the value of protecting diversity and individuality – in the Arab world and beyond – from political attempts at imposing a unilateral lens on life.

distribution & sales

As a producer, my goal is to make films that convey an alternative vision of Palestine and the Arab world, showing the diversity of the region and its human stories. Casting is such a film. While the story is inspired by Tarzan and Arab’s experiences of making films in Gaza, this project has a symbolic depth that allows its messages of protecting intellectual diversity and freedom of expression to work on a universal level. This quality is key, because it is what functions as the bridge in the development of greater understanding between people and cultures. Casting fits extraordinarily well with the profile and overall development strategy of the production company. In fact the company was founded, in part, to provide a structure and a banner under which Tarzan and Arab and I could work together as a creative triad following our initial meeting in the summer of 2012. Made in Palestine Project was launched in February 2013 as an independent initiative to create and promote contemporary film and visual art with a focus on Palestine. We seek to support the creativity of emerging visual artists and create new opportunities for the next generation of Arab creators. The company is committed to reaching new audiences and widening the global perspective on Palestine through a spectrum of cultural platforms including films, exhibitions and publications. As an independent feature film project promoting strong artistic expression by young, emerging regional cultural producers, Casting is a great first feature film for the company. The film is currently in the final stages of development and fundraising and we have secured French co-production. Our co-producer, Incognita, is a subsidiary of one of France’s leading production companies, Europacorp. This production partnership is built on our shared objective to submit the film to a major international film festival in 2014. In terms of feasibility enhancers going into the production stage, our fundraising capacities have recently seen an immense boost from the buzz being generated by our first short film, Condom Lead (also written and directed by Tarzan and Arab), which was selected to compete for the Short Film Palme D’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. The announcement has stirred interest amongst international (particularly European and Arab Gulf) partners and created greater industry credibility for the company within the independent film sector. Casting’s natural audience is an international one that appreciates the independent art film genre with its character-driven stories and global perspective (think of the audience for Kusturica’s Black Cat, White Cat, for example). The film will be shot in Arabic, but we intend for its distinct cinematographic style, universal story and message, high production values; and unique, colourful characters to transcend cultural limitations, increase global audience appeal and expand the regional and international potential of the project. Our co-producer has already contacted several major French and international sales and distribution companies and we expect to finalise an agreement in the upcoming months.

When life is mysterious, the world becomes a kind of fantasy.
Ahmad Abunasser

Film Director

Mohammed Abunasser

Film Director

Rashid Abdelhamid


production notes

directed by
Ahmad Abunasser
Mohammed Abunass

produced bymade in palestine project
Al rasheed street
970, Gaza

in co-production with
Incognita Film - France

total production budget
€ 619.000

current financial need
€ 549.000