Schnabel and producer Jon Kilik both made appeals before the board, which is made up of industry members. The filmmakers argued that that young people around the world should be able to see the film about the violent Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "It is good news," says Schnabel. "I felt like they were restricting the movie from the very people I made it for. The movie is about education, understanding and peace, about people who think you are the enemy, but you aren't, you have more in common than differences."
Adapted from her own autobiographical novel by journalist and peace advocate Rula Jebreal, the movie is about an Arab teenager, played by Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto, whose single stepfather (Omar Metwally, Munich) gives her to an East Jerusalem orphanage run by loving teacher Hind Husseini (Hiam Abbass, The Visitor). Schnabel started a romantic relationship with Jebreal during their Mideast research on the movie, scouting locations and making contacts. "I became involved with her through the making of it," he says. "Doors opened. People felt not used. There's a lot of suspicion about a Jewish filmmaker making a movie about Palestine. I had to walk between the raindrops."
The Weinsteins recently won a PG-13 rating from the MPAA for a revised The King's Speech, after winning an R-rating for Blue Valentine, also on appeal.