ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS

Paris native François Margolin is a graduate of FEMIS (French National Film School) and the University of Paris (mathematics and architecture), with multiple credits as a writer, director and producer of feature films and documentaries. François began as an assistant and editor for Raymond Depardon.

He produced his first short film in 1985, ELLE ET LUI, which won the famous Jean Vigo Prize.

His directorial debut MENSONGES (THE LIE) in 1994 starred Nathalie Baye, who won the Best Acting prize at Chicago and New Delhi Film Festivals. His 2005 LES PETIS SOLDATS, about the child soldiers in Liberia, was presented at MOMA in New York City in 2005 and won the FIPA Prize, the most prestigious documentary award in France. In 2015, he directed THE ART DEALER, starring Michel Bouquet, Anna Sigalevitch, François Berléand. As a documentarian, he has forged a path examining ideological extremism: from Liberian child soldiers to Ethiopian Falashas [the Black Jews of Ethiopia, co-author Rony Brauman (THE DANGEROUS MERCY)] to The Taliban’s opium trade in Afghanistan. He was been nominated twice for a César Award.

In 2016, François directed JIHADISTS (released in France as SALAFISTES), which was selected in festivals around the world and also generated a controversial debate in France over censorship.

As a producer, he has worked with prestigious directors including, Raoul Ruiz (NICINGEN HOUSE, DIAS DE CAMPO, LA NOCHE ENFRENTE), Hou Hsiao-Hsien (THE FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON), Olivier Assayas (BOARDING GATE), Djinn Carrénard (DONOMA), Raymond Depardon (EMPTY QUARTER, UNE FEMME EN AFRIQUE), Hélène Lapiower (LITTLE FAMILY CONVERSATIONS), as well as Danis Tanovic, Catherine Breillat, Arielle Dombasle, Claire Denis, Costa-Gavras, Bernard-Henri Levy, Pavel Lounguine or Abbas Kiarostami.

THE FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON was selected to more than 45 festivals around the world after premiering in the Un Certain Regard selection at Cannes in 2007. It was selected by The New York Times as the best film of the year in 2008.

Margolin’s production of the biopic OPIUM, about the life of the famous French poet Jean Cocteau, was directed by the French actress Arielle Dombasle and was an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. NAPALM, directed by Claude Lanzmann (SHOAH), was selected in the Official Selection at the Cannes Film festival 2017. PESHMERGA, directed by Bernard-Henri Levy, about the fight of the Kurds against Daech, was selected in the Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival 2016. Raoul Ruiz’ last film LA NOCHE DE ENFRENTE (NIGHT ACROSS THE STREE) premiered at Director’s Fortnight in Cannes 2012, and was selected in more than 50 Festivals in the world (Toronto, San Francisco, Rotterdam, Göteborg, Buenos Aires, Rio)

LA PAZ, directed by Tomas Pinzon, about the FARC in Colombia, is now in post-production. The new feature films: Death in Sarajevo, directed by the Best Foreign Film Oscar awarded director, Danis Tanovic, from Bosnia. The film won the Silver Bear in Berlin Film Festival 2016.

As a screenwriter, he wrote ELLE ET LUI and co-wrote screenplays with Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Arielle Dombasle and Szymon Zaleski.


Lemine Ould Salem is a Mauritanian journalist and practicing Muslim, with a degree in Public Law, Political Science and International Relations.

Salem is the former Paris correspondent to the BBC’s French service, journalist for Al Bayane, contributor to Libération, L’Humanité, and Radio Suisse Romande, and Africa correspondent for Tribune de Genève, Le Soir, Le Temps, and Sud Ouest.

He is best known for his 2007 report in Libération which revealed the presence of CIA detention centers in Mauritania, his 2014 book LE BEN LADEN DU SAHARA: SUR LES TRACES DU JIHADISTE MOKHTAR BELMOKHTAR (THE BIN LADEN OF THE SAHARA, IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE JIHADIST MOKHTAR BELMOKHTAR) published by La Martiniere, and his 2016 film SALAFISTES.

Salem spent several months every year traveling to his native Sahara region, meeting with Al Qaida chiefs and other extremists, developing a climate of trust with his subjects, and gaining unprecedented access to the leaders of northern Mali’s jihadist takeover and occupation, including the group led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar.