Now being developed into a feature movie, Herzl’s Journey is based on Bernard Zissman’s  second book which takes another imaginary journey back in time, over one hundred years, to meet Theodor Herzl, the visionary Hungarian born journalist and founder of Zionism. Zissman and Herzl discuss the impact of anti-Semitism in France in the eighteen nineties around the famous case of Jewish army officer Captain Alfred Dreyfus, wrongly convicted and sent to Devil’s Island. Together they travel across Europe from Vienna to Paris and from Basel to London as Herzl makes his case for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

Spanning over a century of European history and the ravages of war, Herzl meets up again with Zissman who is growing up in England as the Nazis begin to march. Following the end of the Second World War, they watch as the State of Israel is born out of a narrow and critical vote in the United Nations in 1947.

Sir Bernard Zissman’s new book, “Herzl’s Journey” has been nominated for the Sophie Brody Medal, an award presented by the American Library Association – “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to Jewish literature for adults published in the United States”.

Berlin: Theodore Herzl Biopic Set with Peter Medak Directing (EXCLUSIVE)

Dave McNary
Film Reporter

H2O Motion Pictures is producing the biopic “Herzl,” based on the life of political activist Theodore Herzl — one of the key players in the creation of the state of Israel — with a fall shoot planned, Variety has learned exclusively.

“Herzl” will shoot on location in Vienna, Budapest, Istanbul, London, Paris and Jerusalem. Hungarian-born Peter Medak, whose credits include “The Ruling Class” and “Let Him Have It,” will direct from a script by Nicholas Kazan, who received an Oscar nomination for “Reversal of Fortune.”

Andras Hamori, whose credits include “Sunshine,” “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Cheri,” is producing.

Set at the turn of the 20th century,”Herzl” follows the story of self-made political activist Theodor Herzl and his tumultuous family life with Viennese socialite Julie Naschauer. Herzl saw the solution to the “Jewish Question” in the creation of a new country and laid the groundwork for contemporary Israel.

Development began over four years ago, inspired by Bernard Zissman’s book “Herzl’s Journey” and a screenplay by Geoff Morrow.

“The creation of the Jewish State and Theodor Herzl’s role in it is one of the most sensitive and controversial political issues in the world today,” Hamori said. “Artistic reasons aside, the reason development took this long is because we wanted to ensure our approach to the story was as well-balanced as possible.”

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