Synopsis: This is a 6,000-year old love story in which the filmmaker tries to understand the profound, often troubled, relationship between olive trees and the people of Mediterranean, including her own father. It is a complicated romance, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, set in a region that includes some of the poorest and most conflicted areas of Europe and the Middle East. Filmed in Italy, Spain, Greece, Palestine, and Italy.
The rare times I saw my father happy was when he was tasting the new batch of olive oil. (Well, he was also happy on the first family road trip I remember, which was to the Black Hills, as he marveled at North American landscapes.) This started as a film about olive oil, but then I realized this would be the story of my father and home–because for him home only remained in a tree. Because the olive tree are so embedded in the roots of so many people, many of the international crew volunteered their time, including renowned Lebanese, Iraqi, Greek and Italian musicians. The team includes a British and a Palestinian cinematographer, an Indian graphic artist, a Romanian colorist and a Colombian editor, Jaime Estrada Torres, who spent five years helping me bring this film into the story it was meant to be. I learned that a tree can be a best friend or a threat, but always it’s part of family.
Alia Yunis has worked on film and writing projects on five continents. She grew up in Minnesota and Lebanon. Alia spent many years in Los Angeles as a screenwriter and script analyst for companies such as Village Roadshow Pictures and Miramax. Alia is a PEN Emerging Voices Fellow. Her novel, The Night Counter (Random House 2010), was critically-acclaimed by the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, and several other publications. Her fiction and nonfiction writings have appeared in numerous books, magazines and anthologies and have been translated into eight languages. She teaches film and heritage at NYU Abu Dhabi.