My Cousin the Star

benandcamel.jpg

The above is a picture of my cousin. He’s the one on the right. It’s from a scene in West Bank Story. A short film.

WEST BANK STORY is a musical comedy about Israelis and Palestinians that takes place between rival fast-food restaurant owners in the West Bank.

Ahmed and his Palestinian brothers own the Hummus Hut; Ariel and his Israeli Settler friends own the Kosher King. Both are at odds over who has the right to sell falafels there with seemingly no solution in sight. The stakes are raised when Ariel’s brother, David, a soldier at a checkpoint, falls in love with Ahmed’s sister Fatima, Hummus Hut’s cashier. Tensions mount as the Israelis build a wall between the two eating establishments and the Palestinians plan an intifadah. The couple profess their love for each other and attempt to bring the two sides together but both restaurants are accidentally burned to the ground. In the aftermath, the mutual need to supply everyone with ‘affordable, great tasting falafels’ brings both sides together, planting a seed of hope for peace in the Middle East.

My cousin, Ben, is the star. He has the role of David. That’s the Tony/Romeo role depending upon whether you assume this is a take-off of West Side Story or Romeo and Juliet.

It will be one of the 82 Short Films (out of 3887 submitted) at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Starting January 20th, for five months following the festival, I believe anyone will be able to see it for free (along with other festival shorts) on the Online Film Festival at Sundance.org. [According to Sundance, “many of the short films will be available”. So this isn’t definite yet.]