Skaarab, a DJ from Egypt, wins a contest that gives him the opportunity to travel to Brussels to take part in the international DJ festival ‘Drop Beats’. Because of an air traffic controller strike in Belgium, his plane is rerouted to Luxembourg. But his run of bad luck continues: His luggage, including his passport and music recordings, goes missing, and he is mistaken for a refugee. From then on, he is stuck in an unknown country and meets people who want to help him get to Belgium to make a name for himself as a DJ. At the same time, a revolution breaks out in his home country. Samir has a crazy 48 hours in store for him. (Press kit)

In SAWAH, Adolf El Assal fulfils a long-cherished desire to film a comedy with serious undertones about a protagonist who lands in Luxembourg quite by chance – just like what happened to the parents of the director, who still lives there now.

SAWAH Direction: Adolf El Assal, DCP, OF m. engl. UT, 86 min.


Born in Alexandria (Egypt), Adolf El Assal has spent most of his childhood between the UAE, UK and Luxembourg. His first feature film DIVIZIONZ from 2008, which was about young people in the Ugandan capital Kampala, was the result of a collective production process, created by a team called ‘Yes! That’s us’. The film was shown at over 100 festivals, and it also brought Adolf El Assal to the Cologne Africa Film Festival for the first time. In 2011, he directed the short films LA FAMEUSE ROUTE and MANO DE DIOS, and in 2014, he completed his first feature directorial effort LES GARS. This was followed by another feature film, SAWAH in 2019, which won him 20 awards. Adolf El Assal is one of the Berlinale Talents, was recently accepted into the prestigious European Film Academy, and is currently working on the artistic design of the Luxembourg pavilion for Expo 2020 in Dubai, among other film projects.

Actor Eric Kabongo was born in DR Congo and emigrated to Belgium in 1997 at the age of 13. His initial appearances in theatre and short films were followed by roles in TV series and in the crime drama BLACK by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. In their film WHAT ABOUT ERIC?, directors Lennart Stuyck and Ruben Vermeersch painted a very personal portrait of him, which received an award for Best Belgian Documentary. His greatest success so far was in playing the main role of a refugee in German social satire WILLKOMMEN BEI DEN HARTMANNS. The film was German cinema’s biggest hit of 2016. Eric then took on additional roles in the comedy TROISIÈMES NOCES, the Netflix Western LA TERRE ET LE SANG, and the German historical drama TRÜMMER DER ERINNERUNG. In SAWAH, he plays a refugee from Congo who has applied for asylum in Luxembourg and makes a living by lending a hand to others who are in trouble.