EN - Iraq, 1988. In a land devastated by war, Dileer (10) and his sister want to watch cartoons on television, but that proves to be more difficult than either of them expected.

FR - Irak, 1988. Dans un pays dévasté par la guerre, Dileer (10 ans) et sa soeur veulent regarder les dessins animés à la télévision, mais cela semble plus difficile que prévu.


Title Land of the Heroes
Original title Land of the Heroes
Original language Kurdic, Arabic
Status Completed
Production Majority Flemish
Category Shorts
Genre Drama
Year 2011
World première / first public presentation 2012-11-08


Cast Ahmed Nisret, Zana Gandi, Adla Bapir, Naima Abdo, Faryal Bozan, Ali Zebari, Raad Said, Sama Sami, Noor Sami
Photography Kobe Van Steenberghe - Robrecht Heyvaert
Editing Joren Desmidt
Music Hannes De Maeyer

Technical specs

Running time film 17'
Release format Red one (4k)
Aspect ratio 1:1.85
Sound format Stereo
Colour Colour


Supported by Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Directorate of Cinema Arbil, University College of Art and Design Sint-Lukas Brussels


- Worldwide Short Film Festival Toronto
- Gulf Film Festival Dubai
- Festroia International Film Festival Sétubal
- Hamburg International Short Film Festival
- Curtocircuito International Short Film Festival Santiago De Compostela
- International Short Film Festival Leuven
- Cinepublic Short Film Festival Gent
- Brussels Short Film Festival Courtmétrage
- InDPanda International Short Film Festival Hong Kong
- IFI Film Festival Dublin
- Kavalan International Short Film Festival Taiwan
- Manchester Kurdish Film Festival
- Leiden International Short Film Festival
- Prend ça Court Montréal ‘Best of’ Selection
- I’ve Seen Films International Film Festival Milan
- Dokufest International Documentary and Short Film Festival Prizren
- Film Festival Della Lessinia Bosco Chiesanuova
- Film Festival Oostende
- Festival Int. de Cinema Les Percéides, Perce
- Off Courts Int. Film Festival Trouville
- Kurdish Film Festival Frankfurt am Main
- Nederlands Film Festival Utrecht
- Bagdad International Film Festival
- Images en Vues Short Film Festival Magdalen Islands
- Festival Le Printemps du Cinéma Arabe, Paris
- Cinemagic International Film Festival Belfast
- Calamartes Film Festival Antwerpen
- Arab Shorts Cairo Film Festival
- London Kurdish Film Festival
- Seoul International Youth Film Festival
- International Film Festival Gent
- International Film Festival Regiofun Katowice Poland
- International Film Festival Ankara
- Kurdish Film Festival Berlin
- Latin Arab International Film Festival Buenos Aires.
- Rio De Janeiro International Short Film Festival Curta Cinema
- Moscow Short Film Festival
- Travelling Film Festival Rennes
- IFVA Asian New Force Awards Hong Kong
- Latin Arab International Film Festival Buenos Aires
- Istanbul International Film Festival
- Festival du Court Métrage Maghribo-Asiatique Tissa, Morocco
- Zoom Zblizenia Film Festival Jelenia Gora
- International Film Festival Izmir
- Go Short International Short Film Festival Nijmegen
- Tampere Film Festival

and many more. Over 100 selections worldwide at the moment.


- Jury Award Best Short Film Generation International Film Festival Berlin
- Jury Award Best Film Busan International Short Film Festival South-Korea
- Award Best Cinematography Busan International Short Film Festival South-Korea
- Award Best Film San Gio Short Film Festival Verona
- Special jury award Human image films competition Baghdad International Film Festival
- 16ORO - Winner of Golden Short Sedicicorto Film Festival Italy
- Zavattini Award at the Reggio Film Festival in Emilia, Italy
- Third prize in the Yilmaz Guney Short Film Competition at the 7th edition of the London Kurdish Film Festival
- Muhr Arab Short Second Prize at the 8th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival
- Honourable mention at the 29th edition of the young audience festival Ale Kino - Poland
- Golden movie award at the 17th Honk Kong independent short film festival
- Rio Tinto Alcan award at the International Short Film Festival Saguenay -Canada
- Jury Award- Best Short Fillm - Kingbonn international film festival - China
- Jury Award - Best International Short Film - Film Leben Festival in Ilmenau - Germany
- Best Short film award - Amed International Film Festival - turkey
- Best Direction award - LAW International Short Film Festival - Erbil
- Best Editing award - LAW International Short Film Festival - Erbil
- Silver award Best Short Film - Duhok International Film Festival - Duhok
- Silver public award - Hangzhou International film festival - China
- Silver jury award - Hangzhou International film festival - China

Land of the Heroes turns 23 in Morocco

Land of the Heroes by Sahim Omar Kalifa can add another award to its already impressive list. At the Chafchaouen International Film Festival (4-7 July) in Morocco the film was awarded the Second Jury Award. This marks the 23rd award for the short film made in 2011.

Land of the heroesNow in its second year, the festival’s focus is mainly directed towards children. All in all, 14 competitors were in the running. The new award adds to the film’s remarkable success as it has been doing consistently well over the course of two years.

Published on Thursday 11 July 2013

A touch of Flanders in Karlovy Vary line-up

Presented at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival (28 June-6 July) this year is Felix van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown, screening as part of Variety’s Ten Euro Directors to Watch section. Sahim Omar Kalifa’s short film Land of the Heroes is selected to take part in the Focus on Kurdish Film while Tango Libre and Tenderness, two co-productions with Flanders, were also added to the line-up. Ari Folman’s The Congress, partly animated by Walking The Dog, is part of the Karlovy Vary programme too.

Tango LibreIt was previously announced that Felix van Groeningen was elected as one of Variety’s Directors to Watch who’re being showcased at this year’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

Published on Friday 21 June 2013

Baghdad Messi scores again

Sahim Omar Kalifa’s Baghdad Messi has grabbed the Jury Prize as 2nd Best Short Film at the 6th edition of the Festival du Court Métrage Maghribo Asiatique (26-31 May) in Tissa, Morocco. In the same weekend, the director also took home a Special Mention for his previous short film Land of the Heroes at Premiers Rencontres du Cinéma Arabe in Marseille, France.

winOnly last month, Baghdad Messi won the Award for Best Short at the Gulf Short Film Festival in Dubai. Winning the decoration implied that the film was automatically selected for the Tissa Short Film Festival too, where the short film scored yet another prize.

Published on Monday 6 May 2013

Call the A Team

Hendrik Verthé and Kobe Van Steenberghe didn’t want to hang around after film school, so they set up their own company, a team productions. Four years on they’ve produced several shorts, including the multi-award winning Land of the Heroes, and they have just wrapped shooting on their first feature production, Image.

Text Ian Mundell | Portrait Bart Dewaele

vertThe pair met at the RITS film school in Brussels and worked together on several projects, including their respective  graduation films. 'At the end Hendrik said: Let's start a company. And I said: That's a great idea,' recalls Van Steenberghe. 'It was a bit naive, maybe, but we didn't want to work all the time on little jobs and then only do something 10 years later. We decided just to do it ourselves, start the company and see how it goes.'

Published on Monday 3 June 2013

Best Short for Baghdad Messi in Dubai

At the 6th edition of the Gulf Film Festival in Dubai (11-17 April) Sahim Omar Kalifa’s Baghdad Messi grabbed the Award for Best Short presented in the Official Gulf Short Film Competition. With the award, the film’s first international recognition, comes a cash prize of $10,000. At the same time Kalifa’s previous short, Land of the Heroes, keeps on touring the festival circuit and has reached over 100 festival screenings.

messinewsfiThis year the Gulf Short Film Competition showcased about 35 short films, all created by Arab directors or shot in the Arab World. As was Land of the Heroes, Baghdad Messi is once again set against an Iraqi backdrop. Kalifa, himself from Kurdish-Iraqi descent, tells the story of 10-year old Hamoudi who, just like his soccer-obsessed friends, is looking forward to the Champions League finale between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. The long awaited clash between Messi and Ronaldo. But then Hamoudi’s television breaks down...

Published on Friday 19 April 2013

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Last edited on 23 November 2015

Short info

Director Sahim Omar Kalifa
Producers Kobe Van Steenberghe, Hendrik Verthé
Writers Sahim Omar Kalifa

a team productions
Hendrik Verthé
Schipstraat 60
9550 Herzele
T +32 497 46 41 80


Magnet Film
Georg Gruber
Rheinsberger Str. 38
10435 Berlin

Preferential partners