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Those Who Watch Over

Fall Grants 2021 - Development Stage

Karima Saidi / Feature Documentary / Belgium, Qatar, France / 90 min / Original Language: Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Greek, Hindi, Turkish, Wolof / Interests: Creative Documentary


An immigrant ceases to be a traveller when they decide to be buried in their host land. In the south of Brussels, on a patch of virgin ground that used to be a military airport, a new story is being written—that of our ancestors. By completing the cycle of life, by choosing or being forced, because of Covid, to complete it here in Belgium, many immigrants of Arab and African origin have anchored us, their children and families, in their host land. These traces tell us stories that are extended or reinvented when we, the living, find ourselves confronted with our dead, our rituals, and our imaginations in our search to maintain a bond with them. How do we communicate with our dead? What do they tell us? How do they protect us? How do they watch over us? And how do we watch over them? The film speaks of these private encounters. From a standpoint that is at once intimate and polyphonic, I seek to put these stories into dialogue. I look at others; I look at ‘Those Who Watch Over’ gathered in this place where care is taken to respect plurality for the dead and their living relatives.


Karima Saïdi
Karima Saïdi
Julie Freres
Production Company

About the Director

Karima Saïdi has a degree in Film Editing and Script Continuity from INSAS and a master's in Film Writing and Analysis from ULB. She is an accomplished documentary film editor, having worked on projects such as 'Femme Taxi à Sidi Bel Abbes' by Hadjaj Belkacem, 'The Dawned of the Sea' by Jawad Rhaleb, 'Red Hair and Black Coffee' by Milena Bochet, and 'Clejani' by Marta Bergman. Additionally, she has developed a career as a scriptwriter for feature films, including 'When Pigs Have Wings' by Sylvain Estibal, 'Our Children' by Joachim Lafosse, and 'Adios Carmen' by Mohamed Amin Benamraoui. In 2013, she created 'Murmurs' and '10 Voices,' a series of sound portraits of Moroccan immigrants in Brussels. In 2016, she paused her activities to care for her mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. This experience inspired her first feature-length documentary, 'A Way Home,' in 2020. Selected at IDFA for its world premiere, the film won several awards and is considered a turning point in the visibility of first-generation Arab immigrant women. 'Those Who Watch Over' is the second opus in her work on exile and its traces. Karima Saïdi teaches at the INSAS Film School in Brussels, the University of Liège, and the ESAV Film School in Marrakech.


  • Main Contact

    Julie Freres


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