Ladj Ly made his full-length feature directorial debut with “Les Misérables,” which examines the real-life police brutality in Montfermeil, France. The drama also became France’s entry for best international feature film at the 92nd Academy Awards.

“It’s amazing. Just making the movie was not even guaranteed at all. Now, being at the Oscars, the visibility of the movie and the story is phenomenal,” Ly said during the Variety Screening Series.

Actor Djebril Zonga said it was a dream come true to make it to the Academy Awards.

“I remember when I started taking classes in New York, they were asking, ‘What is your goal?’ For me, it was winning an Oscar. It’s amazing just to be able to live this. Maybe it’s the first and going to be the last time, so you have to enjoy it,” he said.

Ly also revealed that he sent French president Emmanuel Macron a copy of the film.

“He watched it and he was very much touched by it. Now, he’s working with some of his ministers trying to improve the situation,” he said.