In Production

West Bank-based prodco Waves and Tel Aviv-based prodco Provid have joined forces for a true Palestinian/Israeli coproduction called Two States of Mind (w/t). The one-hour special focuses on two women who are on opposite sides of the conflict, but whose commitment to peace brings them together under unlikely circumstances - a jeep rally.
April 19, 2001

So often the news about the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians takes into account only the conflict and dissension. However, the collaboration between Tel Aviv-based prodco Provid and West Bank-based prodco Waves is evidence that parties on both sides are able, and willing, to work together. Their coproduction, Two States of Mind (w/t), examines the relationship between two women – one Israeli, the other Palestinian – as they attempt to overcome their differences in the name of peace.

On the surface, Naomi and Achsun have much in common – both are actresses and peace activists – but the region each calls home separates them by more than simple geography. Naomi, a 36-year-old Israeli, lives in Tel Aviv with her boyfriend. Achsun, a Palestinian, lives with her two children in Ramalla, on the West Bank; her husband, a high-ranking PLO fighter, was killed in battle.

Naomi and Achsun’s commitment to peace brings them together at an unlikely destination – a women-only jeep rally in the Moroccan Sahara called Trophy Aicha De Gazelle. Neither woman has experience with this kind of competition – making their way across the desert over the course of nine days, with one jeep and one tent – but both accept the invitation to attend as partners on ‘the peace team’.

Once the competition begins, so does the bickering. The peace team misplaces their compass and gets lost. In addition, the political Achsun wants to talk about issues, while Naomi prefers to sidestep such discussions in the name of peace. As the days pass, however, they grow more supportive of one another and their teamwork leads them out of the desert.

Six months after the rally (around the time of the Al Aksa riots in October 2000), Naomi and Achsun finally confront one another over their differing political positions in a telephone conversation. They butt heads over such issues as children in war, education, victim versus aggressor, and Jerusalem. There is no revelatory resolution to their disagreements, but they hang up the phone as friends.

Budgeted at around US$250,000, Two States of Mind (w/t) is scheduled to wrap by August. Tel Aviv-based Cinephil is distributing and Israeli broadcaster TELAD is also on board.

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.