On Sunday, I attended my first awards ceremony…for one of my own films!
I had spent a year working on this film in collaboration with artist Hannah Rose Thomas. I wanted to tell the story of a group of Yazidi refugees she had worked with in Duhok, Northern Iraq. These women had escaped from ISIS captivity, where they had been kept as slaves and traded in ISIS’ sex trafficking rings. What they had gone through was beyond awful. Hannah’s workshop aimed to give them a way of telling their stories through art and sharing it with the world.
The Yazidi women’s portraits, together with Hannah’s paintings of them, were exhibited at the Houses of Parliament. I was able to get access to film the exhibition and people’s reaction to them. The result was very positive – the exhibition sparked a conversation with the Department for International Development about finding a way to help the Yazidi women!
I entered the film into a number of competitions, including the Young Filmmakers Award, which anyone under 25 can enter. I was over the moon when I got the email that it had been shortlisted for the award!
So my husband and I booked flights to Belfast, where the screening and awards ceremony would be hosted.
At the screening of all the films that had been shortlisted, I was so impressed with the high quality of the other films that had made it this far. Many of the other documentaries were also striving to tell the stories of underrepresented people and to make a difference through art.
I came away from the award inspired by all the other brilliant young filmmakers out there, and proud to be able to describe myself as an award-nominated producer! My next effort will be to get this film shown in as many places as possible, and use it to raise awareness of the Yazidi women we featured, and all others like them.