Israeli-born, L.A.-based director Michael Mayer’s debut feature film, Out in the Dark, is a gripping romantic thriller about two men forced to make dangerous choices if they want their love to survive. One night in a Tel Aviv gay club, Israeli lawyer Roy (Michael Aloni) and Palestinian student Nimr (Nicholas Jacob, in his acting debut) instantly hit it off. Roy works in his father’s business, and his parents (Alon Oleartchik and Cheli Godenberg) accept his sexuality. But Nimr, who lives in Ramallah and has just received a permit to cross the border in order to take an important class in Tel Aviv, has to hide his sexual orientation from his younger sister, Abir (Palestinian singer Maysa Daw), his mother, Hiam (Khawlah Haj), and his older brother, Nabil (Jameel Khouri), who is part of a local gang that has it in for gays and Palestinian collaborators. So when Nimr’s permit is revoked by a hard-line Israeli officer, Gil (Alon Pdut), who insists that Nimr give him information, Roy and Nimr have to fight for their relationship — and, perhaps, their lives. Written by Mayer with Yael Shafrir, Out in the Dark is photographed in intimate, dark close-ups by Ran Aviad that heighten the emotional tension. The story never gets polemic or takes sides, as it shows that there are good and bad people in both Israel and Palestine, providing a microcosm of the long, violent stalemate that has led to so many individuals paying a severe personal price. Winner of Audience Awards at eight film festivals around the world (in addition to other prizes), Out in the Dark is currently screening at Cinema Village.