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Ladj Ly joined the famous Kourtrajmé collective in the mid-90s, founded by his childhood friends Romain Gavras and Kim Chapiron. Although he appeared as an actor in the credits of the film Sheitan in 2005, the young man distinguished himself above all as a documentary filmmaker. An adept of "copwatch", a practice that consists of filming police interventions, Ladj Ly notably tackles the revolt in the suburbs, setting up his camera in his native district of Montfermeil (365 days in Clichy Monfermeil). After co-directing Speak Up, a documentary about an eloquence contest at the University of Saint-Denis, Ladj Ly impressed with his first fiction film, a short entitled Les Misérables. The filmmaker, who is also involved in opening a free film school in the 93 region, quickly decided to adapt his striking work for the big screen.