TAU student film sets Guinness World Record
A student film made at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University has set the Guinness World Record for Most Awards Won by a Short Student Film.
Roads, a twenty-minute gritty crime drama by writer/director Lior Geller, tells the story of a young Arab boy who dreams of escaping his violent drug life and is aided by a traumatized Israeli ex-soldier. The short was nominated for a student Academy Award and played at over 60 festivals in 36 countries, winning 24 awards, including top prizes at the Jerusalem Film Festival, the Beijing Film Festival and from the International Association of Film Schools.
One Israeli review stated, "In Lior Geller's entertaining, fast-paced Roads, it's as if he threw into the Israeli-Palestinian cement mixer Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, GoodFellas, the Brazilian City of God and Fresh." The Jerusalem Film Festival jury said, "Lior Geller's Roads deals with political and social issues in a sophisticated and impressive manner, creating a fascinating cinematic experience full of energy and passion. The film had us glued to our seats."
Geller has said of the film's success, "While experiencing the short film's surprising reception, I witnessed the universality of what I had thought was a very personal story. From attending screenings in Arabic-Israeli neighborhoods to inner-city youth programs in Paris, I was amazed by how the tale of a boy who dreams of a better life outside the disenfranchised world he is born into, crosses all boundaries of culture and language. And how a soldier coming home faces similar obstacles and hardships, no matter where in the world 'home' for him really is, be it an Israeli sergeant returning from Gaza or a US veteran coming home from Afghanistan."
From TAU to Hollywood
The success of the short brought Geller to Hollywood where he has since sold multiple screenplays, including the true life spy thriller Alone in Damascus for Eric Eisner's Double E Pictures and is currently adapting his short into an American feature film set in Washington DC. Geller is also developing a TV series based on the biblical story of the Maccabees together with Rome co-creator William J. Macdonald.
The short film's feature adaptation entitled We Die Young is inspired by Geller's own experiences as a soldier and is described as a fast‐paced crime drama taking place over the course of 24 hours in the brutal drug slums of DC, where a young Hispanic boy dreams of finding a new life for him and his younger brother. When a traumatized Afghanistan veteran comes into the neighborhood looking for drugs to escape his own reality, an unusual opportunity arises that will change both their lives forever. Geller is now meeting with actors and with potential investors for a summer 2017 shoot.