PROJECT TITLE: The High
TARGET MARKET: General Audience
LOGLINE: A professor of Jewish mysticism obsessed with ecstatic experiences struggles to enlighten his imprisoned life partner falsely accused of terrorism, and to clear his partner’s name, while trying to avert disaster by opening the gates of the Temple Mount to ensure their souls will be united in the afterlife.
ETHAN HAMMOND, a professor of eschatology and fanatical Jewish mystic (mid 30’s) engages in mystical practices that lead to visionary thinking. Ethan’s practices results in near death experiences where he visits the other side and enters the 32 gates of wisdom as in the Kabbalah. As Ethan meditates on Marc Chagall’s The Fallen Angel and journeys through another dimension, he feels compelled to get his partner YAQUB ABAD, a young Palestinian exchange student (mid 20’s) to reach Tikkun—the rising of the holy spark back to its source-if they wish to be together in the afterlife. Ethan is conflicted about his relationship and defies tradition by teaching Yaqub the ways of the Kabbalah. When Ethan returns from the heavenly world into which he travels during his mystical trances he shares with Yaqub what he has learned about Yaqub’s fate. Ethan struggles to educate a resistant Yaqub and warns of their place in the afterlife. Yaqub doesn’t want to have anything to do with the Kabbalistic teachings because they conflict with his Muslim religion. Yaqub is strongly resistant and does not believe Ethan’s visions of the future. He does everything he can to prevent Ethan from reaching peek experiences. As Yaqub goes off to worship his own faith at a local Mosque the Israeli Consulate in New York is bombed.
NAOMI STRAIT a radiant brunette and one of Ethan’s students (early 20’s) in a rage of jealousy, reports Yaqub to authorities implicating him in the terrorist plot, separating the lovers. Yaqub is arrested and imprisoned. While incarcerated Yaqub turns to Ethan’s teachings and has mystical experiences of his own; however, they cannot prevent a swift trial and death sentence. As the end draws near Yaqub experiences enlightenment and instructs Ethan how to resolve the conflict and ensure their union in the afterlife.
Ethan travels to Israel to make a case for the removal of the dome and to open the 32 gates on the Temple Mount. Ethan is shunned as insane. With no other alternative Ethan joins a local Zionist Group (VESSEL) that is determined to remove the dome from the Temple Mount. The group’s leader LESHEM YOEL (early 30’s) welcomes Ethan into the group. Ethan sees himself in Leshem, a flint of the holy spark he ultimately rejects, after having a change of heart when he realizes that Leshem plans to destroy the Dome by setting off a nuclear explosive that will kill thousands. As Yaqub awaits his faith in prison, Ethan escapes the group with the help of ACHIEZER SISKIND, (early 20’s) a faint-hearted follower of Vessel and makes it to the temple mount in hopes to defuse the bombs detonator before the fifth verse of the call to prayer. Lashem pursues Ethan and when caught in a Minaret, fight over the detonator. Lashem is killed as the fifth verse is heard but it’s too late.
Vessel succeeds in detonating the explosive resulting in a cataclysmic quake; however, the dome is not destroyed as envisioned. Paradoxically, Yaqub and Ethan switch places. Yaqub is vindicated and released while Ethan is taken in for being responsible for the bombing and sentenced to death. As Ethan is prepared for death, Yaqub rushes to his side. Yaqub barely makes it to Ethan’s execution. As Ethan’s body lays motionless Yaqub professes his love. As Yaqub embraces his beloved, Ethan lets out a final pant joining breath and thought that embodies Hei. Chagall’s Fallen Angel descends and a window to the future opens in a twist of fate, ensuring the couple’s union as Yaqub is reincarnated from his new found visionary thinking.
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