Silent Voice

  • Reka Valerik
  • France, Belgium
  • 2020
  • 51 min
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary

Khavaj, a young mixed martial arts fighter from Chechnya, has gone into hiding in Belgium. He’s lived in fear for his life ever since his brother found out that Khavaj is gay. Everything he’s been through has left him in such a state of shock that he’s lost his voice.

With the help of a Belgian organization that protects young men like Khavaj, he learns to speak again and tries to find his way in a new country. Interaction with his family is impossible—his only contact with home is a string of voicemail messages from his mother.

Meanwhile, the tyrannical Kadyrov regime is hot on his heels. It’s possible that members of the Chechnyan diaspora in Belgium will inform on him, so he needs to create a new identity. We follow him very closely, and witness his titanic struggle to reinvent himself. The results are harrowing but also moving.


  • 51 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: English, Chechen, French
  • Subtitles in: English
Reka Valerik
David Hurst for Dublin Films
Need Production, Maelstrom Studios
Arnaud Alberola
Jeanne Oberson

IDFA history

World Premiere
IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary

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IDFA history

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