Peace House screening of ‘On Her Shoulders’ shows Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad’s resilience
Peace House wants to help share the story of Nadia Murad.
The 23-year-old Iraqi survived being forced into sex slavery as part of the Islamic State group’s attempted genocide of the Yazidi people and has since become an activist, winning the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to raise awarness of sexual violence in war.
Peace House and Park City Film will introduce Murad’s story to Park City audiences with a free screening of Alexandria Bombach’s “On Her Shoulders”, a 2018 Sundance Film Festival documentary about the activist.
The screening is set to start at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, 1255 Park Ave.
Sally Tauber, Peace House’s director of development and marketing, and Leisa Mukai, Peace House’s prevention and awareness coordinator, both saw the film when it premiered at Sundance.
Just prior the screening, Tauber had approached Park City Film executive director Katharine Wang about possibly collaborating on Park City Film’s Reel Community Series.
The Reel Community Series is a program that showcases films that connects audience members by “deepening their understanding of complex, diverse and sometimes challenging, topics,” according to Park City Film’s mission statement.
“We set a date, not knowing what movie we would have, but then around that same time, Nadia won the Nobel prize,” Tauber said. “And since the film had won other accolades, we felt it was the best one to showcase.”
• Kristan Warnick, therapist at Healing Pathways Therapy Center that is part of the Trauma Informed Care Network
• Allison Smith, education and outreach specialist for the Asian Association of Utah’s trafficking and human person’s program
• Pamela Silberman, health program manager with the International Refugee Committee
• Nubia Pena, advocacy and prevention training specialist for the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
“On Her Shoulders” took home the 2018 Sundance Film Festival’s Documentary Directing Award, as well as other 2018 awards such as Camden International Film Festival’s Best Documentary Feature and Hamburg Film Festival’s Political Film Award.
“When people read about Nadia, they learn that she was trafficked as a sex slave and they may not want to see what her captors did to her,” Tauber said. “But the film doesn’t show that. It’s about how she overcame it all.”
Mukai said she appreciates that the film doesn’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
“The movie is powerful but not salacious, and one of the issues addressed is the 3,200 Yazidi people who had disappeared,” she said. “They were removed from their homeland by ISIS without international intervention.”
The film also addresses issues that are faced by immigrants and refugees around the world, said Mukai.
Those issues include being separated from families, language and assimilation.
“Some immigrants are being absorbed by different communities and finding it hard to maintain their identities,” Mukai said. “These are issues that can tax mental health, and Nadia has shown in a frank and personal way of how she deals with them all.”
Murad’s determination to fight the odds fits with Peace House’s mission to wipe out domestic violence in Summit and Wasatch counties, said Mukai.
“We are all about getting our clients through difficult and abusive times,” she said. “We want to empower them so they can move on with their lives. We want them to look ahead.”
Thursday’s event will also showcase various nonprofit organizations that aim to help victims of domestic and other forms of abuse, Tauber said.
The nonprofits include:
* International Refugee Committee
* Christian Center of Park City
* Asian Association of Utah
* Planned Parenthood’s Teen Council
* End Violence Now, a Park City High School Club
* Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault
* National Alliance on Mental Illness
* Trauma Informed Care Network
Representatives of these organizations will also be part of a post-screening panel discussion, moderated by Renai Bodley, general manager of KPCW, according to Mukai.
Mukai said she is grateful for all of these organizations and their willingness to be part of the event.
She also thanked Wang and Park City Film for helping scheduling the film and venue.
“We are so grateful for everything that Katy does for the community,” Mukai said. “She makes it easy for us to collaborate on events such as this. And we hope the people who attend the screening will learn more about Nadia and her mission.”
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A Park City couple, who worked in the Hollywood film industry for more than 20 years, have started Top Dead Center Films, a producer of film and TV in the horror genre worldwide.