hold on to her

HD video, 8mm and 16mm transferred to HD video, color, 16:9, stereo & 5.1, Sorani, French, Dutch & English spoken (EN st), BE, 2024, 80'

Synopsis
Mawda Shawri, two years old in 2018, sister of Hama, daughter of Phrast and Shamden, was shot dead by a Belgian police officer during a migration border control. In 2023, over 40 people assembled before the camera to stage a collective hearing of documents from and reactions to Mawda's case. This forum, held at 'La Voix des Sans Papiers’ in Brussels, gave a hearing to the reflections of both undocumented and documented resident activists. A ghostly haunting is acknowledged, caused by police impunity and lack of accountability of the state. In their refusal of such a shortage of truth and human rights the activists feel the need to explore beyond the official narratives. They produce the counter-evidence of this deadly crossing, and they practice justice as a sensuous social space for collective mourning and healing. Faced with the inability to proceed within the dominant frameworks, this hearing challenges what is visible and audible, foregrounding the opaque and the poetic.

Credits
with Aïsta Bah, Marcus Bergner, Thierno Dia, Henriette Essami-Khaullot, Mirra Markhaeva, Lázara Rosell Albear, Ahmed Rzgar, Naomi van Kleef, Khaled Zead
writer and director Robin Vanbesien
producers Steven Dhoedt, Robin Vanbesien
director of photography Diren Agbaba
editor Robin Vanbesien
sound designer Boris Debackere
re-recording mixer Thomas Ferrando
colorist Lennert De Taeye
graphic designer Goda Budvytyte
in collaboration with La Voix des sans papiers de Bruxelles

Production
a production by Visualantics and timely
supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), the Tax Shelter measure of the Belgian Federal Government through Flanders Tax Shelter, Flemish Community Commission (VGC), Atelier Graphoui, Arts Centre Viernulvier, and Sint Lucas Antwerp
world sales by Filmotor

World Premiere
Berlinale Forum Expanded 2024