The Yazidis are a small religious group scattered across northern Iraq. In August 2014, their ancient culture collapsed as ISIS militants swarmed into their homeland and targeted their communities for destruction. A Fire Came to Cleanse Us (working title) shares stories of strength and survival from northern Iraq, where the Yazidi people are rebuilding their communities and reaffirming their faith after a genocidal campaign by the Islamic State. The film follows three female characters of different ages, examining how they survived ISIS violence, captivity, and abuse, and how they now live in the aftermath of those horrors. The film reframes the Yazidi experience and asks what it means to be a survivor, to struggle forward while surrounded by echoes of the past. As the film shifts between the characters’ experiences, it explores themes of redemption and recovery, and ultimately we follow the women as they each make the pilgrimage during the Yazidi New Year to their community’s holy center—the Temple of Lalesh. A Fire Came to Cleanse Us directly challenges the animosity toward refugees, and the misinformation surrounding them, that has recently exploded in Europe and the United States.
Produced by: Market Road Films, The Documentary Group, and Arella Productions