Salimah Standing Strong

By FILM Kids & Docs Competition / IDFA 2015


How do you cope when you’re 10 and travel halfway around the globe to live with the father you barely know? Katrine Philp's Home Sweet Home tells the story of Salimah from Myanmar and her struggle to find her feet in a new culture as teenage life approaches.

Director Katrine Philp has known Salimah for around three years. A child refugee from Myanmar who has lived almost her entire life in Malaysia, Salimah started out as a character in Suitable, Philp’s documentary about UN refugees, and the little girl made such a big impression on the director that she couldn’t let her go.

Home Sweet Home follows now 10-year-old Salimah on her journey to Denmark to be reunited with her father and her older sister, who came to the country when she was only one. Salimah has been staying with her aunt in Malaysia, since she couldn’t live with her violent mother. Now is Salimah’s chance to get a new start with her dad and big sister, even though she has never really known them.

“We meet a girl who in many ways has lived a completely different life than most Danish kids her age, but is still just an ordinary girl like everyone else.”Katrine Philp

“I’ve been charmed by this little girl ever since I met her in Malaysia. Her story is so strong that it has to be told,” the director says. With her camera, Katrine Philp follows Salimah as she navigates her life-changing transition – not only moving to a completely different culture, but also moving through an insecure and fragile stage in life.

“I am fascinated by the transformation that takes place at this particular age – a topic I have treated in several of my other films,” Philp explains. 

The director hopes that Home Sweet Home will draw attention to the experience of coming to a new society from a different cultural background. “We meet a girl who in many ways has lived a completely different life than most Danish kids her age, but is still just an ordinary girl like everyone else. A girl who begins to take an interest in the boys in her class, in make-up and in the new hit by Justin Bieber. She’s a teenager, with all that entails.”

Home Sweet Home is selected for the IDFA Competition for Kids & Docs and is produced by Katrine A. Sahlstrøm for Good Company Pictures.

Home Sweet Home in Danish Film Catalogue

See overview of Danish docs at IDFA 2015


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Home Sweet Home Photos: Framegrab

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Katrine Philp

Director, born 1978. Graduated as a documentary director from the National Film School of Denmark in 2009. Her graduation film Book of Miri was nominated for IDFA’s Best Student Award and won the President’s Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. With Burmese filmmaker Thu Thu Shein, Philp contributed Five Beats Before Death (2010) to CPH:LAB, an experimental lab for young filmmakers under CPH:DOX. Her first feature documentary, Dance for Me (2012), screened at IDFA and was nominated in 2015 for an Emmy Award. Philp released her first film about life as a refugee, Suitable, in 2013. She recently established Good Company Pictures with directors Kasper Astrup Schröder and Boris Bertram and producer Kathrine A. Sahlstrøm. Home Sweet Home is selected for IDFA’s Kids & Docs Competition.

Photo: Adam Morris Philp
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AT IDFA 2015