Born in Tunisia, screenwriter and director Michka Saäl emigrated to Quebec in the early 1980s. She made a splash with her first film. In 1989, Loin d'où ? won the Normande-Juneau prize, given to the best short film at the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois. Her next work, Nulle part la mer, garnered numerous awards in the short film category at the 1991 Festival de cinéma international de Ste-Thérèse, including the award for the best film.
In 1992, Michka Saäl made her first documentary, L'Arbre qui dort rêve à ses racines, a feature produced by the NFB, which was screened at various festivals in Europe and the Middle East. This was followed by Tragedia, a medium-length fiction film written and made at the Canadian Film Center in Toronto. In 1995, the filmmaker returned to the documentary, making Le violon sur la toile, which was also produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
Subsequently, Michka Saäl wrote and directed her first dramatic feature, which was co-produced with France. Released in 1998, La position de l'escargot / The Snail Position was shown in cinemas in Quebec and France before being screened at numerous European and Asian festivals.
Several themes run though the works of Michka Saäl, including that of shifting back and forth between here and elsewhere, the present country and the remembered one, tracing the time reconstituted in future memories. In her new documentary, Zero Tolerance, which examines the relations between Montreal police and minority youth, she seems to move away from these ideas, but, beneath the surface, she strives to give voice to other cultures in our society.
Prisonniers de Beckett is her last feature.