9 APR 2024

“Laura H. The Caliphate Girl,” the new intriguing story from Dutch CORE

The director of the drama series Kadir Ferati Balci and Lorraine Joore, Sales executive at Dutch CORE, explain the European resonance of the story and the current impact of the plot.

9 APR 2024

Kadir Ferati Balci and Lorraine Joore

  • Facebook
  • X
  • Linkedin
  • Whatsapp

"Laura H. – The Caliphate Girl" (6x50') is the adaptation of Thomas Rueb's investigative book and tells the true story of a young woman and her two children, who were found in the desert between Syria and Turkey. As the story unfolds, viewers discover the woman is Laura H., a seemingly ordinary girl from the Netherlands, one of the European countries where ISIS recruited converts. Whilst Laura claims to have been kidnapped and taken into the heart of the “ISIS” Caliphate by her husband Ibrahim, when she steps onto Dutch soil seeking refuge she is met with suspicion rather than compassion. Accused of harbouring terrorist motives, she is immediately arrested and eventually given a two-year sentence. Even her determined father Eric, who moved heaven and earth to bring her home, begins to question the authenticity of her story.

The series was produced by Monique Busman from Tomtit Film and Dries Phlypo from Mockingbird Productions and distributed by Dutch CORE, which premiered the title in the last Series Mania and will be bringing it to MIPTV. "Monique Busman bought the rights of the Thomas Rueb's book that was a bestseller in Holland and in Belgium and It took more than two years to adapt it because the story jumps from one year, into another," detailed Kadir Ferati Balci, Director of the series, in an exclusive chat with Señal News.

"When I came on board as a director, we had a lot of talks about the scripts. One of the big challenges and complexities of the story was the use of different timelines in the series, which initially posed significant headaches but ultimately became one of the project’s strengths. It ended up adding depth to the narrative, allowing us to explore the story in a more engaging way", he said. Balci confessed that he felt amazed with the true story back then in 2016, when it took place. "I couldn't stop wondering what if my daughter would join a terrorist organization. What would I do as her father? I would really go far. So, for me, it became a story about unconditional love," he said. "On the other side, I felt identified a lot in Ibrahim, because I was brought up Islamic, a Turkish boy living in Europe. It's a very universal story, people easily identify to it," he admitted.

"I was already super fascinated with the story when I read the book so when we heard the series was being produced, we got connected at an early stage for the international distribution," commented Lorraine Joore, Sales executive at Dutch CORE. "Laura H. is such a captivating character, A young teenage mother going all the way to the caliphate and exposing her two very young children to the most dangerous and violent surrounding you can imagine. What was she thinking, what were her motives? Laura became the headline of every newspaper being the first Dutch woman to escape the caliphate. How was she able to do that in broad daylight carrying her toddler and a baby?" she added. Dutch CORE is excited to share this series with international broadcasters and streamers. "They did an amazing job to translate this remarkable story into the series that it is now," she said.

"Laura H. – The Caliphate Girl" will be one of the highlights of Dutch CORE slate for MIPTV. "It's important to show this story, because it is not only a Dutch story, it's very also German, UK, France. A lot of countries have their children who left to the Caliphate, it's a common problem. So for me, it was important to have it in Series Mania to show it to the world, and hopefully it will travel to other countries as well," scatted Balci. Lorraine Joore also referred to the current of the plot. "Laura H. is an urgent story: a lot of IS women wait for their conviction in European prisons. Even more IS women still are at refugee camps," she affirmed.

Dutch CORE will also be launching its documentary series "The Butlers" (4x30') at MIPTV where students of all ages from all over the world are taught the intricacies of the butler's profession in ten weeks at the prestigious International Butler Academy. “Becoming a butler is not something you hear a lot these days. What moves these students to choose this career? This choice becomes even more surprising when you see how strict and military-like the academy is. Seeing how these students have to pay attention to the most detailed etiquette rules, makes it a really fun series to watch,” indicated Joore.

Another series Dutch CORE will be presenting is the geopolitical detective series “HIDDEN” (4x50’), an exciting new documentary series that has been selected for CANNESERIES. When a Dutch journalist learns that an intelligence agent has gone missing after a secret operation in Iran, his investigation leads to the shadowy world of digital warfare and espionage. “In this gripping series, we follow five main characters who are determined to make the unseen threats visible and tangible — each in their own way”, said Joore. “Our daring protagonists try to defend themselves against digital attacks in the present, or want to uncover the truth about cyber attacks from the past. The outcome of their quest is still uncertain, but what’s at stake is crystal clear: the need to protect our democracies in modern times of war,” she added.