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Palestinian politics is dominated by two camps - backers of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who seeks a state in the lands captured by Israel in 1967 and supporters of Hamas, which wants to set up an Islamic state between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, including in what is now Israel.

Jundiyeh said he needs at least $120,000 for the first Schalit movie, but that the budget could swell to $350,000. He was evasive about sources of funding.

An official in the Culture Ministry said the Gaza government contributed $95,000. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the ministry has not issued a press release about the film.

Despite the Gaza government’s support, Jundiyeh said he is independent.

“I’m not Hamas,” he said. “I’m a Palestinian who is proud of his people and national struggle.”

Jundiyeh said he would also like to make movies about the life of Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader, but that he is hampered by lack of funding and Israeli travel bans that prevent him and many other Gaza residents from crossing through Israel into the West Bank.

“I decided to work on what is available (in Gaza), which is also a very important chapter in our life,” he said.