Exodus 1991

A Feature Film Production

Executive Producers: Ari Naim, Gideon Naim, Raphael Shore, Micah Smith.
Producers: Yoav Roeh, Aurit Zamir. Director: Micah Smith. Screenwriter: Eitan Anner

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About the Film

Exodus 1991 (working title) tells the incredible story of Operation Solomon, the daring rescue of the Ethiopian Jewish community. Using documentary footage and reenactments, this feature-length film follows the Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia, Asher Naim, as he navigates the treacherous world of bureaucracy and politics in a region racked by civil war.

Part historical drama, part documentary, the film blurs the lines between past and present to look beyond the euphoric salvation of Ethiopian Jewry. It portrays the transformation of an individual whose calm diplomatic demeanor fades as he confronts endless obstacles while orchestrating the perilous rescue mission. On a more universal level, the film explores challenging questions surrounding cultural identity, the politics of immigration, and the hardships that remain for these immigrants, and the others that followed, to this day.

An Unlikely Savior

Asher Naim arrived in Ethiopia with almost no knowledge of the country’s Jews. Little could he imagine the role he would play in changing the destiny of this ancient Jewish community. After practicing Judaism in Ethiopia for thousands of years, the community found itself in mortal danger, threatened by civil war and humanitarian disaster as the government of the country’s murderous dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam, began to collapse.

Ambassador Naim found himself at the center of negotiations to save an entire people. Against all odds, he managed to stall negotiations with Mengistu and hold down the fort at the overwhelmed Israel embassy. On May 23, 1991, with rebels closing in on the capital, the first Israeli planes landed at Addis Ababa airport.

In the 36 hours that followed, 14,325 souls from this 3,000-year-old community were successfully airlifted to Israel in a heroic and historic mission that deserves wider recognition.

Why Making this Film is Critical

Exodus 1991 is not just a story of epic rescue. Rather, it highlights a fundamental principle of Israel’s existence: to leave no Jew behind. While many countries turn immigrants away, Israel does the opposite, rescuing those in danger and offering a home to those seeking a better life.

With the recent release of the spy film The Red Sea Diving Resort, the story of Ethiopian Jewry and the improbable mission to bring them home has captured the world’s imagination and received widespread coverage.

There has never been a better time to tell this compelling tale.

Distribution Plan

OpenDor Media films reach over 500,000 people annually. In the last 10 years, over five million people have viewed our films on Netflix, Comcast, Amazon, PBS, Jewish and Christian TV stations, and at 200+ film festivals. This includes over 69,000 high school and college students. OpenDor Media’s most recent film, Sustainable Nation, has been screened at 42 international festivals, winning seven awards.

The goals for Exodus 1991 distribution and viewing are:

Film festivals: 300 submissions to premiere and international festivals; one top international film festival acceptance; 50 festival acceptances.

General distribution: Pitch film at international film markets; work with global distribution partners to increase reach potential through broadcast and digital distribution including over-the-top media services like Netflix and Hulu; screen on Israel TV.

Educational distribution: Unpacked for Educators website release in Spring 2021; 150 downloads of the film and the educational materials for schools; total student reach: 25,000 in year one, with expected annual use of the film and materials.

Anticipated date for film completion: December 2020

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Get in touch with our team for updates on the development of Exodus 1991 and for sponsorship opportunities. 

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