Mediha tells the story of the genocide, captivity, displacement, and perseverance of the Yazidi people of Northern Iraq. This project is as much an investigative reporting of the crimes against humanity committed on the Yazidi people at the hands of ISIS—and the justice they’re seeking— as it is a documentation of the incredible struggle this community faces in maintaining their cultural and religious identity as they try to heal the deep wounds left by ISIS.
Whereas many investigative documentaries are told through the prism of aid workers and humanitarians from the outside looking in at a problem, this project aims to give agency to those directly affected by the crisis. Mediha is an immersive cinema vérité experience as we rely on traditional single-camera shooting from director Hasan Oswald as he closely embeds with his characters. Inspired by the film Born Into Brothels, we also provided cameras for the kids to enable them to describe their own journey of trauma, loss, and rehabilitation.
A BIT OF BACKGROUND
In 2014, ISIS committed genocide against the Yazidis, a small religious and ethnic minority in Northern Iraq. Men and the elderly were executed and dumped into mass graves, while many boys were trained to become child soldiers. Women and girls were forced into sexual slavery, repeatedly sold and traded among ISIS soldiers.
Those who survived the genocide and have remained in the region are still unable to return to their ancestral homeland due to the continued unrest and destruction of their homes, farmlands and businesses. The Yazidis now face the enormous task of trying to rebuild their communities, as they search for their missing and for justice.