top of page

They Call Me Babu

Dir. Sandra Beerends / Netherlands / 2019 / 80’ / Polish premiere




Director: Sandra Beerends
Screenplay: Sandra Beerends
Editing: Ruben van der Hammen NCE
Sound: Mark Glynne
Music: Alex Simu
Producer: Pieter van Huijstee
Production: Pieter van Huystee Film
World sales: Pieter van Huystee Film
Language: Indonesian



Alima worked for a Dutch family as their babu—nanny—in the former Dutch East Indies. A young woman’s voice tells her story of how she came to work for the family, taking care of their baby Jantje. She accompanies them for a short stay in the Netherlands. Upon her return, she lives through Japanese occupation (during which the Dutch family is put in internment camps), and the battle for Indonesia’s independence. Throughout these years, Alima is devoted to the child, but at the same time she’s loyal to her lover Riboet, who’s an independence fighter.
Told from Alima’s perspective, the film is more than an account of changing relationships in Indonesia: first and foremost, it’s about Alima’s development as an individual, breaking free of social restrictions to become an independent woman. Using unique, never-before-seen images from various archives in the Netherlands and Japan, it tells a universal story about the empowerment of women.


Nomination for Emmy® Award (Documentary category), IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, FIPADOC International Documentary Festival, Sydney Film Festival, DOK.fest München (VIKTOR DOK.horizonte Award), Netherlands Film Festival (Golden Calf for Best Documentary, Golden Calf for Best Editing), PRIX EUROPA (Special Mention)


Lan_You_Director photo.jpg

Sandra Beerends
Sandra Beerends is a script editor, creative producer and writer/director who works for the Dutch broadcaster NTR and runs her own company, Beruang. She has been on the juries of Prix Europa, Prix Jeunesse, Cinedans, Klik! and IFFR. Her work includes, but is not restricted to, the script-editing of “Kauwboy” (Berlinale Generation, European Film Academy Young Audience Award 2012) and “Polska Warrior” (Grand Prix Dutch Animation HAFF 2017). Currently, she is working on fictional films and various series for children, youngsters and ‘talents’ . Her own documentary “They Call Me Babu” premiered suc​cessfully at IDFA as was among the audience favourites and received the Crystal Prize for selling more than 10.000 tickets in its initial theatrical run. At the same time the film is travelling the international festival circuit.




Red Stains
Red Stains
Red Stains
Red Stains
bottom of page