Land of the little people

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Imagine this scene: the skies are blue, the birds are singing, and four children are playing joyfully in the woods. Now imagine these children covered with two soldiers’ blood as their own private war rages in the woods while a “real” war rages in the outside world. Welcome to Land of the Little People, an ambitious project by Palestinian film producer Tony Copti and Israeli director Yaniv Berman.

The Filmmakers

Copti and Berman have teamed up to make a gut-wrenching controversial thriller about four young children who fight two army deserters in a bloody war over territory. According to Berman, growing up in a militarist society has had a lasting effect on his soul and on that of generations of children. Growing up in Haifa, Berman remembers from an early age how he and his friends used to play imaginary war games in the forests of the Carmel Mountain. At the age of 18, Berman joined the Israel Defense Forces. Following his service he created his award-winning feature documentary The Alpha Diaries, portraying how the military service corrupts the mind of young soldiers.

Tony Copti, a Palestinian film producer who grew up in Jaffa, was the production manager of the film “Ajami” which was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category. In 2011 Tony created Fresco Films which was the executive production company of the feature film “The Attack” by Ziad Doueiri and “Girrafada” by Rani Massalha. In “Land of the Little People” Tony sees not only a strong story and a very challenging production, but also a very important message that puts the focus on one of the taboos in Israeli society – the connection between militarism and violence.

With this background, Berman and Copti set off to make Land of the Little People – a war movie that takes place away from the “real” battlefield, but is as violent and fierce. Affected by their upbringing, the kids in the film make deadly decisions which shape their childhood.

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The Challenge

Political and uncompromising in its social statement, this story touches at the very core of the Israeli inner conflict. The idea of Israeli children hunting down two IDF soldiers sounded outrageous to many in the Israeli film industry.  Berman and Copti were asked to modify it, soften it, and even rewrite it into a children’s movie.

Nevertheless, we were determined to go forward, and have recently launched a teaser that has won an award at the International Movie Trailer Festival. Motivated by this, we went on to making a Crowd Funding film. Raising money with a crowd funding campaign will help us make this film bigger and better, allowing us to acquire better means for special effects, props and makeup, but much more importantly – it will broaden the support to our cause.

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