Hogir Hirori
Sabaya
Part of
Sabaya

Sabaya

Hogir Hirori

2021
91 min.
Sweden
Arabic
Subtitles: Catalan, Spanish and English

A group of Yazidi women infiltrate the dangerous camp of Al-Hol, from where they fled, to rescue their peers forced into sexual slavery by Daesh.

Datasheet

Show
Direction
Hogir Hirori
Production
Antonio Russo Merenda
Production company
Lolav Media, Ginestra Film
Editing
Hogir Hirori
Music
Mohammed Zaki
Researcher
Guevara Namer
Synopsis

The Yazidis are an ethnic group of Kurdish origin from northern Iraq, Syria and south-eastern Turkey. In 2015, Daesh attacked the Iraqi city of Sinjar to exterminate the Yazidi population. An estimated 3,000 people were killed and nearly 7,000 abducted. Today, hundreds of Yazidi women and girls live in the Al Hol refugee camp in north-eastern Syria with their captors and are still forced into sexual slavery. "Sabaya" means sex slave. Director Hogir Hirori risks his life, together with the protagonists of the documentary, to show us the harsh reality of trying to rescue these women.

Al-Hol is one of the most dangerous camps in the Middle East, with nearly 73,000 refugees, many of whom are former Daesh followers. The documentary follows Mahmud, Ziyad and the rest of the Yazidi House Centre volunteers who fight with all their might to coordinate rescue efforts. They have the help of Yazidi women who were released from Al-Hol and have decided to return to the camp as infiltrators to help their peers. There are no words to describe their courage.

Every night foray in Al-Hol gives the chills, the narration progresses in real time and shows us a reality that we don’t see in the media. There are many strong emotions in the Yazidi House Centre and the comradeship and empathy to care for the liberated women and girls is touching. The members of the Centre will continue to fight, despite knowing they are endangering their lives. Hirori deservedly won the award for best direction at the Sundance 2021 festival.

DocsBarcelona Panorama Section, supported by ARTE

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About the direction
Hogir Hirori

Hogir Hirori

Director

Hogir Hirori was born in 1980 in Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan. In 1999, he fled to Sweden and has lived si...

DocsBarcelona Trajectory

2021
DocsBarcelona Festival · Panorama
Edició 2021

Awards and festivals

Sundance Film Festival
USA, 2021
CPH:DOX
Denmark, 2021
Docvile
Belgium, 2021
Moscow International Film Festival
Russia, 2021
Hogir Hirori
Sabaya
Watch the trailer
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Reviews

A riveting, though often meandering story, about a select few working to reunite the families torn apart by an endless civil war.

— Robert Daniels · RogerEbert

Impressively exciting and strikingly novel.

— Inkoo Kang · Hollywood Reporter

A small band of volunteers attempt to rescue female ISIS slaves from a Syrian border camp in Hogir Hirori's gripping, harrowing, superb doc.

— Jessica Kiang · Variety
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