Sand Storm

Directed by Elite Zexer

Year: 2016
Running Time: 87
Color Type: Color
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Language: Arabic
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Sand Storm

Lamis Ammar
Ruba Blal-Asfour
Haitham Omari
Khadija Alakel
Jalal Masarwa

Directed by Elite Zexer
Writer Elite Zexer
Cinematographer Shai Peleg
Produced by Haim Mecklberg and Estee Yacov- Mecklberg

As wedding festivities get underway in a Bedouin village in Southern Israel, Jalila finds herself in the awkward position of hosting her husband Suliman’s marriage to a second, much younger wife. During the celebration, Jalila stumbles across her eldest daughter Layla’s involvement with a boy from her university—a strictly forbidden liaison that would shame the family. Burying the indignity of Suliman and his new bride living next door, Jalila also tries to contain Layla’s situation by clamping down on her. But Layla sees a different life for herself...


  • Winner of six Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards) including Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress

    World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, 2016 Sundance

    International Competition Grand Jury Prize. 2016 Jeonju IFF

    New Directors Conpetition Grand Jury Prize. 2016 Seattle IFF

    International New Talent Competition Special Mention, 2016 Taipei IFF

    Jerusalem IFF Work-In-Progress Competition FIRST PRIZE

    Locarno IFF Work-In-Progress Competition FIRST PRIZE

    “Dramatically absorbing.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

     “A sympathetic but clear-eyed look at the tangled skein of inequalities that entrap women (and the men they love and resent) in a Bedouin village stranded between modernization and anachronistic patriarchy. The film boasts alluring desert visuals, muscular acting and intricate psychology… the energy surely belongs to Blal-Asfour as (Layla’s) mother, a caged tiger who smolders and paces and delivers tongue-lashings.” – Ella Taylor, Variety

    “One of the most-admired films at this year’s Sundance. A lovely, deeply affecting film.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine

    “Elite Zexer, an Israeli making a solid, sensitive feature directing debut… has a fine eye for the texture of daily life, which she fills in with resonant physical details and sweeping, scene-setting views… Ms. Zexer is at her best when she daubs in color and minutiae… Ms. Blal-Asfour (is) a smoldering force… an actress who can express the entire history (and mystery) of a marriage and the complexities of people with a drag on a cigarette and a dark, unbearable look…” - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

    “Critics’ Pick. Coursing with feeling - an ethnographic melodrama, rich in cultural specifics, but also universal longings.” - Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

    “Some very impressive filmmaking skills by a first-time director. Persuasive and finely wrought. Jalila is its most important and most fascinating character. Thanks in part to Blal’s extraordinarily skilled and convincing performance. There’s a feeling of anthropological exactness to many of (the film’s) details… (and) crisp, realistic cinematography.” - Godfrey Cheshire,

    “A straightforward tale of ruinous patriarchal order but with an insightful variation. Zexer weaves an impressively terse narrative of distinctly motivated characters. There are wonderful blips of feeling and significance.” - Clayton Dillard, Slant

    “A complex drama with characters to match. The choices (Zexer) makes in terms of visuals, tone and script establish her as a strong directorial presence.” - Kimber Myers, The Playlist


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Venue City Date
JCC of Manhattan New York 1480568400December 1, 2016
Calgary Jewish Film Festival Calgary 1480136400November 26, 2016
Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival Philadelphia 1478754000November 10, 2016
Boston Jewish Film Festival Boston 1478667600November 9, 2016
Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival Rehoboth Beach 1478232000November 4 - November 12, 2016
Virginia Film Festival Charlottesville 1478145600November 3 - November 6, 2016
Wisconsin Union Directorate Madison 1478145600November 3 - November 6, 2016
Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema Chicago 1477972800November 1, 2016
Coral Gables Art Cinema Coral Gables 1477022400October 21 - October 27, 2016
Cinema du Parc Montreal 1477022400October 21 - October 27, 2016
Vermont International Film Festival S. Burlington 1477022400October 21 - October 30, 2016
Laemmle Town Center 5 Encino 1476417600October 14 - October 20, 2016
Washington Jewish Film Festival Washington 1475985600October 9, 2016
Laemmle Royal Theatre Los Angeles 1475812800October 7 - October 13, 2016
Laemmle Playhouse 7 Pasadena 1475812800October 7 - October 13, 2016
Orca's Island Film Festival Eastsound 1475812800October 7 - October 10, 2016
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Madison 1475640000October 5, 2016
Santa Barbara International Film Festival / Riviera Theatre Santa Barbara 1475380800October 2 - October 5, 2016
TIFF Bell Lightbox Toronto 1475208000September 30 - October 6, 2016
Film Forum New York 1475035200September 28 - October 12, 2016
Milwaukee Film Festival Milwaukee 1474516800September 22 - October 6, 2016

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