Sahim Omar Kalifa

  • Sahim Omar Kalifa, 39 years old, Iraqi-Kurdish
  • Creativity sector
  • Film Director

About Sahim

Sahim Omar Kalifa was born in 1980 in Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan. In 2001 he came to Belgium illegally as a refugee. In 2004 he received Belgian citizenship and in 2008 he got Master's degree in Filmmaking at the Sint-Lukas Film School in Brussels. He now has 3 children and in his spare time enjoys playing football, swimming, and cycling.

Sahim at a glance

Length of time in the Leuven Region: 18 years
Reason for coming to Leuven: Family
Favorite spot in Leuven: Opek Café
Favorite phrase in Dutch: Achthonderdachtentachtig

About Sahim's Career

Sahim is a critically acclaimed film director, having won more than 105 International awards so far. In 2014, Sahim was chosen in Istanbul as Best Kurdish film director. In 2016, he became a member of the Academy Awards ‘The Oscars,' allowing him to vote for the Oscar awards. This year, Sahim is being honored by the Iraqi Ministry of Culture for his services to cinema.

Sahim's many awards include:

  • ‘Land of the heroes’ won the Jury Prize for Best Short Film at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival – Generation section.
  • ‘Baghdad Messi’ was shortlisted for the 87th Academy awards, the Oscars. It was one of the 10 finalists. It has also won 60 international awards.
  • The feature film ZAGROS ‘Feature Film’ is critically acclaimed and was
    • Winner of The Grand Prix For BEST FILM at 44th Ghent Film Festival.
    • Winner: Ensor for the Best Film ‘Flemish Film Awards ‘Flemish Oscars’.
    • Winner: Ensor for the Best Scenario ‘Flemish Film Awards’.
    • Winner: Audience Award for Best Film at 18th Arras Film Festival – France
    • Winner: Best Director at 18th Arras Film Festival – France
    • Winner: Audience Award for Best Film at 35th Annonay Film Festival – France
    • 47th Rotterdam International Film Festival – Official selection.
    • 72nd Edinburgh Film Festival – Official Selection - UK
    • 35th Munich Film Festival – Official Selection
    • 42nd Montreal World Film Festival – Canada
    • 12thAsia Pacific Screen Awards – Official Competition.
  • ‘Bad Hunter’ won, among others, the Jury Award at 59th Valladolid, 38th Montreal World, Dubai IFF and Flickerfest Film Festival, and was shortlisted for the 88th Academy Awards
  • In 2017, the Documentary Film ‘Cornered in Molenbeek’ won Best Belgian Documentary TV Series at Docville Documentary Film Festival, was selected for the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival – Official competition, and received Ensors nominations for Best Flemish Documentary Film.

More Information

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