Private Project

Mariam's Restaurant

Mariam, a refugee from Sudan runs her own restaurant in the broken-down south Tel-Aviv neighborhood of Neve Shaanan. She falls in love with Mahadin, a frequent visitor to the popular restaurant and a refugee himself.

Like many other African asylum seekers, Mariam and Mahadin face daily hardships, which take a turn to the worse when Mahadin is summoned to the 'Holot' detention facility in the Negev desert. The Israeli government built the detention center as part of their long campaign to expel tens of thousands of African migrants and asylum seekers, mostly Eritrean and Sudanese, who entered the country illegally.

Mariam and Mahadin's never say die spirit is put to the test as they fear Mahadin's impending placement to the 'Holot' detention center and they fight to prove to the local authorities that their relationship is genuine.

  • Tal Cohen-Litant
  • Ofer Rudolphson
  • Tal Cohen-Litant
  • Ofer Rudolphson
  • Tal Cohen-Litant
  • Ofer Rudolphson
  • Maram Benda
    Key Cast
  • Mohedin Yosif
    Key Cast
  • Claus Quidde
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    המסעדה של מרים
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Poetic, Expository, Mixed
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 14 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 30, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Full HD Anamorphic
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Tal Cohen-Litant, Ofer Rudolphson

Ofer Rudolphson is a dual-national Israeli and German filmmaker with a rich portfolio as an award winning director, cinematographer, writer and editor. In 2015, Ofer founded VideoLab, a production house for personalized video creation. Born and raised in Jerusalem, Ofer graduated with distinction in 2007 from the Tel-Aviv University’s renowned film and Television program. Ofer worked as Content Manager & Post Production Producer for Keshet and launched their web portal, which soon became one of three leading Israeli Online-News and entertainment websites. Since moving to Berlin in June 2009, Ofer has mastered his creative skills in filmmaking from writing to directing, filming and editing. He worked for Media Consulta, a Full-Service Agency in Berlin as concept developer, video editor & cameraman. Ofer is also an enthusiastic vintage lens collector and was trained as a paramedic during his military service.  

Tal Cohen-Litant is a Global Citizen and filmmaker with a passion for exploring the human perspective in music, gastronomy and art through nonfiction storytelling. Tal is based in New York and has recently launched JediCollective, featuring collaborative, cultural and music-centric content by a curated network of cross-disciplinary talent embracing cinematographers, animators, editors, artists and musicians. Tal is experienced as a media and entertainment executive and launched several niche TV networks internationally. His dream is to host an alternative travel show and share with viewers real stories about the numerous countries he’s called home through the eyes of the most interesting locals he has had the pleasure of befriending. Tal is also a music composer and is currently recording a cinematic ambient album under the brand name Craft&Tal.

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Director Statement

Upon meeting in Israel in May 2014, my longtime friend Ofer invited me to walk through Tel-Aviv’s southern neighborhoods. Following a chance encounter, we were invited for lunch at Mariam’s Restaurant, a local spot favored by the many illegal immigrants and residents of the broken-down neighborhood, Neve Shaanan. While eating delicious Sudanese cuisine, the owner Mariam passed by our table and joined us. Our curious nature led to an honest discussion and Mariam slowly opened up. Her and Mahadin's story is both unique and reflective of countless individuals that were forced to leave their homeland and find refuge in other countries.

Only a fraction of this growing population’s stories are told yet the unprecedented explosion of global migration is one of the most significant developments of the past quarter-century. We chose to film Mariam’s Restaurant in anamorphic format to try and cinematically portray the magic within the simple and at times grayish moments we captured of Mariam and Mahadin’s life. The final editing of the film was put to hold until we received permission from Mariam and Mahadin to share their story with the world.

As the eyes of the world are opening, it is important for those who have a voice to use it on behalf of those who do not. We hope this film will offer viewers the opportunity to connect emotionally to the experiences of individuals and groups who choose or are forced to leave their homelands and who place their well-being and safety into the hands of others. 

 – Tal Cohen-Litant, Director