HBO is turning Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit’s 2014 book, My Promised Land: The Triumph And Tragedy Of Israel, into a documentary. The book is a narrative history that draws on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as Shavit’s own family to tell the story of modern-day Israel. It was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Natan Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.
Shavit was on a panel this morning here in Jerusalem at the INTV conference organized by Keshet Media, which will also be involved in the film. HBO CEO and chairman Richard Plepler, also on the panel, had nothing but praise for the tome, saying: “The book left me awestruck and as moved as I’ve been maybe ever. When I first approached him, I said to Ari that I’ve waited my whole adult life to find this book.”
Shavit said of the film, which is already underway, “Keeping it complex and balanced while keeping it powerful and emotional is a challenge, but it’s exciting.” Dan Setton is directing.
Plepler said the plan is to “make it a film that will reach millions of people.” Although no date has been set, it will premiere in Jerusalem, per Plepler, and will be shown in schools and universities. He declared that the book “will become the bible in American Jewish homes.”