About this Film

It Is No Dream examines the life and times of Theodor Herzl, who was responsible for creating the political movement that led in 1948 to the founding of the Jewish state, Israel. It is the latest production of Moriah Films, the two time Academy Award winning documentary film division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international human rights organization and NGO with over 400,000 member families. Narrated by Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley and starring Academy Award Winner Christoph Waltz as the voice of Theodor Herzl, It Is No Dream examines how Theodor Herzl--an assimilated Jew, a successful playwright and author, born into a traditional but mostly non-religious family in Budapest in 1860--was changed by the trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus in Paris, which he covered as a journalist in 1895. Previously, he had advocated the mass conversion of Jews to Christianity as a solution to the growing anti-Semitism of Europe. However, after witnessing the court proceedings where Dreyfus was falsely convicted of treason and the anti-Jewish demonstrations of the French public, Herzl became convinced that the only answer to the anti-Semitism that was spreading across Europe was the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, the Biblical homeland of the Jewish people. He wrote a political treatise entitled “Der Judenstaat” or “The Jewish State” that became an international bestseller, laying out his ideas for creating a new Jewish state.

It Is No Dream follows Herzl as he meets with Kings, Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, a Sultan, a Pope and government ministers from Constantinople to St. Petersburg, from Paris to Berlin, from Vienna to Vilna in his quest to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Israeli President and Nobel laureate Shimon Peres appears in the film, discussing his recollections as a young boy growing up in a small Polish town about Herzl’s importance in his upbringing and how his family was inspired by him to become Zionists and move to Palestine in 1934. It also presents the recollections and memoirs of those Jews who, inspired by Theodor Herzl, decided to settle in Palestine in the 1890’s and the early 1900’s and highlights Zionists such as Max Nordau (best selling social critic), Chaim Weizmann (Israel’s first President) and David Ben Gurion (Israel’s first Prime Minister), who were early adherents to the cause. And it examines Herzl’s vision for what the Jewish state would become and how he advocated peaceful co-existence between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. Featuring rare archival film footage of the period and never before seen stills and artifacts, It Is No Dream also includes newly shot footage of the places where Herzl lived and visited. Working with the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, the production team was given access to the original manuscripts of Herzl’s plays, diaries and his handwritten version of “Der Judenstaat”. A rare first edition of the booklet was also filmed for the documentary.

Co-written and produced by two-time Academy Award winner Rabbi Marvin Hier and co-written, produced and directed by Academy Award winner Richard Trank, It Is No Dream is the twelfth production of Moriah Films and is slated for theatrical release in the Fall of 2012.

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