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  • 1h 31m
  • Hogir Hirori
  • Sweden
  • 2021

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Winner, Best International Director: Hogir Hirori

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Special Mention, Best International Feature

Documenting the rescue of Yazidi women enslaved by ISIS, director Hogir Hirori often thought: “Should I be doing this, is it worth it?” Hirori’s Sabaya is a harrowing tale of heroism from a filmmaker all too familiar with the wartime struggles of those he documents.  

Hirori fled his native Kurdistan in 1999 and returns to the battle zone to spotlight the dedicated civil servants of the Yazidi Home Center. Putting their lives on the line 24 / 7, two brave men and a slew of extraordinary, anonymous female “infiltrators” fight, using phones more than guns, to save the Sabaya – Yazidi women and girls held as sex slaves by ISIS. It’s a calling that leads them to Al-Hol in Syria, the Middle East’s most dangerous camp, where the brutalised hostages blend in with their perpetrators, making identifying, let alone extricating, them a herculean task.  


No shortage of heart-in-mouth drama.
Wendy Ide, Screen Daily

This film is part of our Around the World in Nine Films Category, proudly presented by RNZ.


Hogir Hirori


Hogir Hirori



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