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Internationals in Leuven - Sahim Omar Kalifa

Together with our partner organizations, Leuven MindGate is committed to spreading the word about the fantastic opportunities our region has to offer. We’re here to tell you - and to show you - all the reasons you should consider becoming a Leuvenaar. And who better to tell you all the reasons than international Leuvenaars themselves?

An Iraqi refugee who made it as a internationally renowned film director

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 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.

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

How can we help?

The Leuven MindGate team is at your disposal for any questions about the Leuven Innovation Region. Do you want to invest, work or study in the region? We can help you find your way.

We also facilitate collaboration and innovation between companies, knowledge institutes and government within the Leuven Innovation Region, and we are happy to guide any of these stakeholders towards innovation.