“Daesh Girl” is the the award nominated production by filmmaker, Abdul Mohsen Almutairi. Mohsen is the co-founder of Talashi Films, and he has directed and produced more than 20 short, feature, and documentary films, including the award-winning “Sunrise/Sunset.” Read Almutairi’s full story here with MALA.
Daesh Girl tells the story of Sarah, a young woman drawn into a world of violence and treachery when her friend, Noorah, is abducted by Daesh (aka ISIS) and forced into servitude. The necessity of freeing Noorah forces Sarah to concoct a desperate scheme which will put her in the greatest possible danger, as she goes undercover to infiltrate one of the world’s most ruthless and deadly extremist groups, with the aim of freeing her friend and killing her captors.
The filmmakers describe “Daesh Girl” as, “A compelling story of love, death and sacrifice, set against a backdrop of war, hatred and intolerance, in one of the world’s most troubled regions.” Speaking to The Arab American News recently, Almutairi said, “You can use art and film as a powerful element to create a voice for the voiceless in the Middle East.” He also added “That such a film being directed by a Saudi Arabian filmmaker counters the narrative and sends a strong message – that moderate Muslims worldwide are joined in the fight against terrorism.”
Almutairi said many film institutions were put off by the film because for them it was not “anti-ISIS” enough. The filmmaker said that the film depicted ISIS in a subdued tone because they did not set out to take sides. Almutairi said, “He intentionally deferred from focusing on portraying the terrorist group in a bad light. Instead, he focused on thoughtful dialogue and logical sequences.”
“We know what they do,” he said. “Part of being a filmmaker is not to show clear sides.” As a director, Almutairi said, “His job is to reveal what is really happening, not include a happy ending where the militants are defeated “Kill Bill style.””
Speaking of the film’s remarkably diverse cast and crew whose nationalities span 14 countries, Almutairi said, “It is an international language of cinema, where everyone comes together to create an avenue for discussion and push the boundaries through art and cinema to prove to the world that, ‘yeah, we’re standing against them.'”
Daesh Girl was screened on June 4, 2016, at “Euro Fest” European International Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. Its up-coming screenings will be held on July 10, 2016, at qFlix Philadelphia Film Festival in Philadelphia, US; August 10, 2016, at EppFilms Indie Theater in Cleveland, US; and in October 2016, at the Baltimore International Black Film Festival in Baltimore, Maryland.