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The Woman I Never Called Mum

Fall Grants 2022 - Development Stage

Sabrina Idiri Chemloul / Feature Documentary / Algeria, France, Qatar / Original Language: Arabic, French / Interests: History, Biography


Because I was born out of wedlock, my birth was kept secret initially. I was raised by my aunt in France until I was 10. Then I was taken back to Algeria. I thought it was only for the summer, but I was to live there for five years with my mother and grandmother. Then I was sent back to France when I was 15. From then on, my relationship with my mother became one of letter-writing across land and sea. It went on for years until Skype replaced our correspondence. While my mother has lived like a prisoner in her apartment in Oran, I have lived wherever I decide—with or without a residence permit.

To make this film, I will move back into my mother’s apartment for a few months. Here, where she has lived since her teens, I film our relationship. Our communication seeks to strike a balance between her voice, which wavers, and mine, which sometimes takes up too much room. I parse my memories of the few years we lived together. And I relive that difficult time when I was an unhappy child who rejected her. My project is that she should finally tell me about her life, her secret pregnancy in Algiers, and why she chose separation. As an artist, I want to rewrite our fragmented story using letters, old photographs and my personal film archives.


Sabrina Idiri Chemloul
Sabrina Idiri Chemloul
Delphine Morel
Production Company
TS Productions

About the Director

A member of the Experimental Cinema Workshop (L’Etna), Sabrina Idiri Chemloul directed her first short film in 2002 and pursued her career in Canada and the United States, where she directed another short film. She collaborated as a script supervisor on various independent feature films and television shows while starting to write her own screenplays. Her first feature screenplay received a rewriting grant from the French Centre National de la Cinématographie and was further developed at the screenwriting residencies Atelier Grand Nord (Canada, 2016) and Méditalents (France, Morocco, 2016). She showcased a video installation as part of a contemporary art exhibition at La Maison des Arts, from June to November 2021, in Malakoff, South Paris. Her last short film is currently screened in the short film program Court-Circuit by Arte, France.


  • Main Contact

    Delphine Morel

    TS Productions
    +33 153 102 400

Questions regarding this project?


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