Still from Tel Aviv on Fire, courtesy of Variety

Alumnus Sameh Zoabi '05 And Professor Dan Kleinman Nominated For Best Screenplay Award at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards

November 5, 2018

Tel Aviv on Fire co-written and directed by alumnus Sameh Zoabi '05 and co-written by Professor Dan Kleinman has been nominated for Best Screenplay Award at the 2018 Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The award ceremony will take place November 29th in Brisbane, Australia. With this nomination, Zoabi and Professor Kleinman become members of the Asia Pacific Screen Academy.


Tel Aviv on Fire is a comedy “about a Palestinian soap opera writer and the Israeli security officer who tries to influence the direction of a TV show’s plot.” as described in a Variety review. The film premiered in the Orizzonti section at the Venice Film Festival where it won the Best actor Award for Kais Nashif’s brilliant performance as well as the InterFilm Award for “promoting Interreligious Dialogue.” The film opened to enthusiastic reviews, with Screen Daily, calling it "an entertaining satire" and Cineeuropa described the film as "audacious and subjective." The film has also screened at other prestigious festivals such as Toronto International Film Festival and Haifa Film Festival in Israel where it won top prizes for Best Film and Best Screenplay. Tel Aviv on Fire was recently picked up for US and European distribution. United King will distribute the film in Israel, Haut & Court in France and Cohen Media in the US.


Sameh Zoabi is a Palestanian filmmaker who has participated in the Cannes Film Festival residency as well as the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. In 2006, Filmmaker Magazine named Zoabi one of the “Top 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema.”

Dan Kleinman taught for twenty years as a member of the full-time screenwriting faculty at Columbia (1996-2016). During that time, he was chair of the Film Program for five years and acting dean of the School of the Arts for three. Prior to coming to Columbia, he taught for twenty years at NYU. He has been a mentor at the Sundance screenwriting lab in Utah and at screenwriting labs in Belgium and Uganda.