The film will receive its world premiere in the World Cinema Documentary section of the 2021 festival. Dogwoof previously repped Hirori’s IDFA-winning documentary “The Deminer” (2017), which follows a former Iraqi soldier on a personal mission to disarm thousands of landmines using just a pocketknife and some wirecutters.
“Sabaya” is the term used for individuals abducted and forced into sexual slavery. The film follows Mahmud, Ziyad and their group of fellow Yazidis who, armed with only a mobile phone and a gun, risk their lives trying to save Yazidi women and girls being held by ISIS as Sabaya in the most dangerous camp in the Middle East, Al-Hol in Syria.
“Following a great collaboration with Dogwoof for my previous documentary, ‘The Deminer,’ it was an obvious decision to leave ‘Sabaya’ in their hands. Dogwoof was the first choice for me on both occasions,” said Hirori.
Oli Harbottle, head of distribution and acquisitions for Dogwoof, added: “Ever since working on Hogir’s astonishing previous film ‘The Deminer,’ we’ve been eagerly awaiting his follow-up.
“With ‘Sabaya,’ he has once again delivered an extraordinarily powerful piece of filmmaking which shines a light on some of the heroic work being done in the Middle East to rescue victims of conflict. Few filmmakers achieve this level of access to create such tense and vital storytelling.”
Written and directed by Hirori, the film was produced by Antonio Russo Merenda and Hirori for Lolav Media and Ginestra Film; co-produced by Axel Arnö for SVT, with support from The Swedish Film Institute; Nordisk Film & TV Fond; Film Stockholm/Filmbasen and in association with YLE and VGTV.
Hirori was born in Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan. In 1999, he fled to Sweden and has been based out of Stockholm ever since.
The filmmaker works as a freelance photographer, editor and director, and runs his own production company, Lolav Media. His previous doc “The Deminer” received the Special Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at IDFA. The film has since travelled to more than 50 international film festivals and aired on more than 30 broadcasters worldwide.
Doc specialist Dogwoof’s recent sales slate includes Greta Thunberg documentary “I Am Greta,” China-set COVID-19 film “76 Days” as well as David Osit’s acclaimed “Mayor.”