POV: On Her Shoulders
Airs Monday, July 22, 2019 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV + Thursday, July 25 at 11 a.m. on KPBS 2
—A Yazidi survivor of genocide and sexual slavery tells her story to the United Nations—
After surviving the 2014 genocide of the Yazidis in Northern Iraq and escaping sexual slavery at the hands of ISIS, 23-year-old Nadia Murad gave a testimony before the U.N. Security Council that was heard around the world.
Nadia suddenly became the face of the Yazidis – a historically persecuted and voiceless religious minority.
Despite longing for a normal life away from the spotlight, Nadia takes on the role of an activist in hopes of halting the ongoing genocide and bringing ISIS commanders to justice.
Repeatedly telling her harrowing story to journalists, politicians, and diplomats, this once ordinary girl is suddenly thrust into the alien world of advocacy on a global stage.
With intimate access into Nadia’s day-to-day existence and a behind-the-scenes look at the often absurd juxtapositions of international politics and aid, we follow Nadia during the peak of her advocacy campaign.
A moving study of the dizzying path Nadia’s life takes – from the refugee camps of Greece to soul-bearing media interviews, emotionally draining speeches in front of the U.N. and an endless succession of one-on-one meetings with top government officials – the film exposes the disparity between the toll the work takes on Nadia and her resolve.
Away from the podium and chaos, there are glimpses of Nadia as she once was – a strong-willed girl who dreamed of opening a beauty salon in her village.
As this resilient young woman navigates bureaucracy, politics and the cost of fame, the film deftly reveals the immense obstacles facing a vulnerable minority struggling to be heard.
With a formal precision and elegance that matches Nadia’s calm and steely demeanor, filmmaker Alexandria Bombach brings us inside an exhausting, destabilizing journey fraught with personal pain and profound ethical urgency.
“‘On Her Shoulders’ is a story in bravery, grace and will power,” said Justine Nagan, executive producer/executive director of POV/American Documentary. “It raises difficult questions about the toll it takes to bear witness and the cost to educate and empower the masses around trauma. Because of her efforts, Murad—at the age of 25—won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, and Bombach’s film is poignant testimony to Murad’s journey.”
Official Selection, 2018 Sundance Film Festival, 2018 SXSW Film Festival. Shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature for the 91st Academy Awards.
Watch On Your Schedule:
This film will stream online on POV.org in concurrence with its broadcast. Full episodes of POV are available to view on demand for a limited time after broadcast.
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A co-production of RYOT Films and American Documentary | POV. Director/Cinematographer/Editor: Alexandria Bombach. Producers: Hayley Pappas and Brock Williams. Editor: Alexandria Bombach. Original Music: Patrick Jonsson. Executive Producers for POV: Justine Nagan and Chris White.