A programme by Fondazione Mediterraneo to favour the mutual understanding through meetings, images and music
Ismayil, an Arab boy, begins his day riding his bicycle through the narrow alleys and rundown streets of his neighbourhood, greeting his friends and neighbours. This could look like an average day for any other boy in Israel, but Ismayil lives in the small Arab quarter in the city of Lod, and here, there are no average days.
In the Arab-Israeli slums of the drug-stricken city, Ismayil is king. At barely 13 he already works for Ahmed, the biggest local drug dealer. But one day Ismayil discovers that his younger brother Riad dreams of walking in his footsteps and leaves school to work for Ahmed. Ismayil then decides to flee Lod with his brother, determined to find a new life for both of them outside, far away from the drug dealers and their abusive father. He steals a large amount of cash from Ahmed, intended for a big drug deal, and grabs Riad. In the midst of their escape they run into Daniel, a young traumatized Israeli ex-soldier, who often buys drugs from Ismayil trying to escape his own reality. Daniel decides to help Ismayil and his brother by smuggling them out of the neighborhood in his car. But on their way out they encounter Ahmed and his dealers. Ismayil leads them running into an abandoned warehouse where they are ultimately surrounded by the dealers, and by policemen following Daniel. During these brief intense moments, a bond grows between Ismayil and Daniel. Taking cover inside, Daniel tells Ismayil of one tragic day as a soldier in Lebanon when he mistakenly shot a boy Ismayil's age. In this pivotal dead-end Daniel gives himself up to the police allowing Ismayil and Riad to escape. He is arrested while Ismayil and his brother flee across the train-tracked border of Lod. Daniel looks on smiling, hoping they will never return. While he found his redemption, Ismayil found his way out.
After growing up in New Jersey, Lior moved to Israel and enrolled in Tel-Aviv University’s Film Department, completing his studies in 2006. Lior's graduate short film ROADS won 23 international awards, becoming the most highly decorated student film of all time, and earned Lior an Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Student Film of 2008. After directing and editing various television projects Lior recently completed a German-Israeli co-produced feature documentary, a six episode series for prime-time Israeli television, and currently in development of two feature films.