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They Call Me Babu – Netherlands Oscars Submission

Mon, Jan 11 - Sun, Feb 28  2021

They Call Me Babu – Netherlands Oscars Submission

The Dutch feature documentary They Call Me Babu by Sandra Beerends has been submitted for consideration in the Best Documentary Feature category of the 93rd Academy Awards. The film is produced by Pieter van Huystee Film and Netherlands broadcaster NTR.

They Call Me Babu is a universal, timeless story about love, loyalty and the empowerment of women. The film is entirely composed of unique archive footage and tells the story of Alima, who worked as a nanny in the former Dutch colony of Indonesia. Her story plays out against the backdrop of World War II and the country’s subsequent struggle for independence. Throughout these years, Alima is a loyal and loving nanny, but at the same time she remains true to her lover Riboet, who is an independence fighter.

Director Sandra Beerends, who is of Indonesian and Dutch heritage, tells the story of Alima from uniquely Indonesian and feminist perspectives.

The film is currently available for screening at home in the Laemmle Virtual Cinema.

Furthermore DOC NYC audiences are invited to watch the award-winning documentary online from Wed. Jan. 27 at 11:00am ET to Thurs. Jan. 28 at 11:00pm ET, with an exclusive live Q&A on Thurs. Jan. 28 at 5:00pm ET with director Sandra Beerends, moderated by DOC NYC Artistic Director Thom Powers.

Please watch the trailer here:

Select reviews:

Business Doc Europe: “A mesmerising journey through space, history and emotions, carefully and lovingly crafted from found footage… an astounding piece of cinema combining personal stories and history, teaching us new perspectives and universal truths and engaging all our senses, including the heart.”

Sydney Morning Herald: “An Indonesian variation on Roma’s theme of an invisible member holding a family together as history turns, it is the highlight of the Europe: Voices of Women program”.

Cineuropa review: “Encompassing themes such as self-determination, women’s rights and oppression, They Call Me Babu is a valuable document allowing us to rethink the way we view history. Beerends, who partly has Indonesian roots herself, managed to wipe the footage clean and remove decades’ worth of dust to show us its striking relevance.” (link:

Tempo (Indonesian Magazine): “They Call Me Babu brings us back in time with its powerful scenes and narrative.”

They Call me Babu was selected for many of the world’s core documentary events, including  IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam),  Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, FIPADOC (Biarritz) and Sydney Film Festival Europe! Voices of Women.

Awards and nominations include: 2020 Focal Award: Best use of archival footage in a history feature, VIKTOR DOK.horizonte award at DOK.fest München, Golden Calf for Best Documentary Netherlands Film Festival, Golden Calf for Best Editing Netherlands Film Festival, Special Mentions from PRIX EUROPA and Inconvenient Films Festival. The film was supported by a.o. The Netherlands Film Fund, NPO-fund, Sound and Vision and Eye Filmmuseum.

For the 2021 Academy Awards, documentary submissions will be viewed by members of the Documentary Branch, who will use a preferential voting system to produce a shortlist of 15 films. Five nominees will then be chosen by a second round of balloting, again using a preferential voting system.

The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on April 25, 2021.

DutchCulture USA