Palestinian filmmaker Muayad Alayan’s supernatural drama “A House in Jerusalem,” about a young girl’s enigmatic quest to unravel the mystery around her new home, has released a chilling trailer ahead of its world premiere in the Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam’s Limelight strand. Heretic is handling international sales.
Alayan’s third feature follows a young girl (Miley Locke) who is forced to move with her father (Johnny Harris) from the U.K. to Jerusalem, in the hopes that a new beginning can help her heal from her mother’s sudden death. Soon after settling into an old house in a neighborhood known as the Valley of the Ghosts, a series of mysterious events take place, for which Rebecca is blamed. Diving deep into the mystery of the house and the mystical city of Jerusalem, Rebecca sets out on a journey to discover what hides in the shadows of the house.
The film is written by Alayan and his brother Rami and produced by PalCine Productions and Wellington Films Limited, and co-produced by Metafora, ZDF/ARTE, Cocoon Films, Red Balloon Film and KeyFilm, in partnership with MAD Solutions. Pic was supported by the BFI Film Fund, the Netherlands Film Fund, MOIN Hamburg Filmförderung and Pont Neuf Productions.
“As a child, I used to feel overwhelmed by the thought of how my parents and my grandmother could survive living each day with the weight of the memories of the life that they lost during the 1948 war,” the director said in a statement. “Life as they knew it abruptly ended and they were suddenly forced to flee with no ability to return. The life they lived after the war seemed incomplete to them and a part of them was inexplicably left behind in the past in their old homes.”
He continued: “As I grew up, these feelings of loss and grief made more sense as I experienced my first love, my first heartbreak, my first goodbye and the painful loss of my dear ones: my grandmother, my father and recently my mother. My brother and I have set out to make this personal film inspired by their memory, by the stories they told and by their survival. It is a film about the power of longing. Whether we lose a home or a loved one we feel broken and some pieces of us seem to stay behind in the past unable to face the trauma of loss and its present aftermath.”
Alayan’s previous film, “The Reports on Sarah and Saleem,” premiered at Rotterdam in 2018, where it won two awards, and took home the Grand Jury Prize at the Seattle Intl. Film Festival. His debut, “Love, Theft and Other Entanglements,” bowed in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama strand in 2015 and sold to more than 20 territories. “A House in Jerusalem” was previously presented in Rotterdam’s CineMart co-production market.
The trailer can be viewed below: