The Return: Life After ISIS

Image from THE RETURN: LIFE AFTER ISIS of a woman sitting with a child in her lap.

Screenings

May 19, 2021May 27, 2021
9:00 AM11:59 PM /
New York
Watch the film at your own pace May 19-27 on our film streaming platform
May 20, 2021
5:00 PM /
New York
Click "take part" to RSVP for the live Q&A with filmmaker Alba Sotorra Clua, Kurdish Feminist Activist Sevinaz Evdike, Letta Tayler, A.D., Crisis & Conflict, HRW + Maya Foa, ED, Reprieve, moderated by Azadeh Moaveni, 'Guest House for Young Widows' Author

“When you are brainwashed, you don’t realise it until you snap out of it. I took everything too fast, and too deep.” Hoda Muthana, film participant, The Return: Life After ISIS

Hoda Muthana and Shamima Begum made world headlines after leaving their homes in the US and UK as teenagers to join the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. The Return: Life After ISIS is a unique portrait of a group of Western women who pledged their lives to ISIS, but now want to return home to restart their lives. While facing hostile journalists and governments who have left them de-facto stateless, the women confront their truths and try to heal from their trauma in a locked camp in northeast Syria, with the help of Kurdish women’s rights activists. With its rare access to Roj camp, this film is a sensitive portrayal of just a few of the 63,000 women and children held, in dire conditions with no due process, as ISIS suspects and family members in northeast Syria by a Kurdish-led armed group. 

“This film cuts through the stereotypes about Western women who joined ISIS and makes a compelling case for bringing them home. In the process, it reveals an unusual sisterhood between these women and a Kurdish social worker who helps them even though ISIS sought to destroy her community.”
– Letta Tayler, associate director, Crisis and Conflict Division, Human Rights Watch

- Nominee, Grand Jury Award, SXSW 2021

This film is fully subtitled in English.

 

Watch at your own pace anytime between May 19 - 27, or join us and watch-along before the live Q&A

Thursday, May 20
3:30 PM EDT / 12:30 PM PDT – Start film
5:00 PM EDT / 2:00 PM PDT – Join us for a live Q&A

We do not want the cost of entry to the films to be a barrier for participation in our events. If the price of buying a ticket to this film would prevent you from participating, please email the following address (filmticket@hrw.org) + you will receive an auto-reply email with a free ticket code. We have set aside a set # of tickets per film on a first come first-served basis. Once the free tickets are no longer available, the code will no longer work. For anyone that purchases a ticket, we appreciate your support. Your ticket purchase enables us to make tickets free for those who might otherwise be unable to watch. This also allows the festival to support the filmmakers for sharing their work in the festival, to support the arts organizations bringing this work to you.

 

Filmmaker(s): 
Directed by Alba Sotorra Clua and Produced by Alba Sotorra Clua, Vesna Cudic, Carles Torres
Country of Production: 
Spain/ UK
Year: 
2021
90m
Language(s): 
English (This film is fully subtitled in English.)
Filmmaker Bio(s): 
Alba Sotorra Clua
Director

Alba Sotorra Clua is an independent filmmaker and producer, the founder of the Barcelonabased production company Alba Sotorra S.L. Alba has worked in Syria, Afghanistan, Korea, Bosnia, Cuba, the US, Guatemala, England, Iran, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, and Qatar, and has lived long periods in the Middle East. Her films have premiered at such international festivals as HotDocs, Shanghai International Film Festival, Karlovy Vary, and Seminci. Her projects include the documentary feature film Game Over (2015), which received the VIII Gaudí Award from the Catalan Film Academy and Comandante Arian (2018), nominated for the Gaudí Awards for Best Documentary in 2019.

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