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Red Olive Tree

Fall Grant 2011 - Development Stage

Karim Bensalah / Feature Narrative / Algeria, Qatar / 100 min / Colour / Original Language: Arabic, French / Interests: About Family, History, Road Trip, Dramedy, Immigration, Identity


The Belmakis, an upper-middle-class family in France, appear to lead a trouble-free life; all, however, is not as it seems. Ahmed, the patriarch, harbours a secret: he is a ‘Harki’ – an Algerian who served on the side of the French during the Algerian War. His French wife, Françoise, is lonely and depressed. Tarek, their son, still lives at home and has yet to find himself. And daughter Sofia, a law student, has no interest in her Algerian heritage. Ahmed dies in an accident while driving home. As the family prepares for his funeral, they hear a knocking from inside the coffin. Ahmed emerges alive and with a clear purpose: to travel back to Algeria.


Karim Bensalah
Karim Bensalah
Habib Tsaki Ruelle

About the Director

Karim was born the son of an Algerian father and a Brazilian mother. After growing up Algeria, Brazil, Haiti and Senegal he moved to France to study Social Sciences and Philosophy before entering the London Film School.
Karim’s last short, Les Heures Blanches, shot in Canada, was broadcasted by France 2. In competition at Clermont Ferrand it won an award at the Outaouais Film Festival. His previous shorts were also shown in competition at Clermont Ferrand and broadcasted by European TV stations.
Karim participated in the Sundance Screen Writer's and Director's Lab in 2012 with his project Red Olive Tree.
He also works as an actor, writer and script consultant around the world developing, for more than 15 years, educational film workshops with children, teenagers and under-represented minorities. These educational programs represent for Karim a real political field but also have opened an aesthetic and cinematographic experimentation where he has developed a practice around collective writing.


  • Main Contact

    Karim Bensalah


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