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Sundance Winner ‘On Her Shoulders’ Lands at Oscilloscope

Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired North American rights from RYOT to Alexandria Bombach’s “On Her Shoulders,” which won the documentary directing award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

On Her Shoulders” will be presented at the upcoming SXSW Film Festival. Oscilloscope is planning a theatrical release for later in 2018.

The film focuses on Nadia Murad, who survived the 2014 genocide of the Yazidis in Northern Iraq and escaped sexual slavery at the hands of ISIS. At the age of 23, Murad gave a testimony before the U.N. Security Council that made her the face of the Yazidis — a historically persecuted and voiceless religious minority — with the result that a once-ordinary woman was suddenly thrust into the alien world of international advocacy, repeatedly telling her harrowing story in the hope of saving her people from extinction.

The film was shot at the peak of her advocacy campaign, and includes footage from refugee camps of Greece, media interviews, emotionally draining speeches, and an endless succession of one-on-one meetings with top government officials.

Jay Weissberg gave the film a strong review for Variety at Sundance: “By exposing the ways public institutions and the media demand an explicit performance of suffering by human-rights spokespeople, Bombach (who won the U.S. Doc directing prize at Sundance) shows that Murad’s nightmare will never end. It’s this understanding, so rarely addressed or even noticed in most portraits of refugees, that makes Bombach’s film essential viewing.”

Bombach said, “‘On Her Shoulders’ is a film about Nadia Murad and the plight of the Yazidi people, but it’s also about us — how we tell stories of trauma, and how we choose to listen. It’s an honor to have Oscilloscope bring this film to audiences, not only because of their reputation for supporting powerful films, but because of the team’s intimate understanding of the nuance of this film and its importance.”

The film was produced by Hayley Pappas of RYOT Films and Brock Williams, alongside executive producers Bryn Mooser (CEO and co-founder of RYOT), Matt Ippolito, Marie Therese Guirgis, Adam Bardach, and Alison Klayman.

The deal was negotiated by UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers. Bombach is represented by UTA.

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