On Her Shoulders

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.

[Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.]

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.


Alexandria Bombach


Director: Alexandria Bombach
Executive Producer: Bryn Mooser, Matt Ippolito, Marie Therese Guirgis, Adam Bardach, Alison Klayman
Producer: Hayley Pappas, Brock Williams
Cinematographer: Alexandria Bombach
Editor: Alexandria Bombach
Music: Patrick Jonsson
Additional Credits: Additional Editor: Michael Bucuzzo, Additional Cinematogrpher: Karee Maxson, Additional Cinematographer: Sam Kretchmar


Oscilloscope Laboratories
Public Film Contact
Hayley Pappas
Publicity Contact
Susan Norget
Primary Entry: Platinum Badge, Film Badge
Secondary Entry: Music Badge, Interactive Badge, Film Festival Wristband

Year: 2018
Genre: Documentary
Screening Section: Festival Favorites
Screening Category: Documentary Feature
Country: Canada, Germany, Greece, Iraq, United States
Language: English, Kurdish, Arabic
Runtime: 93:40 mins