The New York Times recently reported that Sabaya, a film about Yazidi sexual slavery survivors, included women who did not give consent to appear in the film.

Earlier this year, the Sundance Institute awarded the film its 2021 Directing Award in World Cinema Documentary. We believe this award is inappropriate for a director who failed to uphold the safety, well-being, and agency of all abuse survivors as his foremost concern.

On September 29, 2021, we submitted this letter to Sundance requesting to revoke this award, as well as making reparations.

We received the following response from Sundance on October 8, 2021.

Sundance response 10-8-2021

To which we responded with the following on October 12, 2021.

Response to Sundance 10-12-2021

We are also aware that the film is distributed by MTV Films.

If you would like to adapt the letter to send to their attention and action, please contact:

MTV Documentary Films
Sheila Nevins – President
@thesheilanevins (
+1 212 846 6000 phone
1515 Broadway Ave.
New York, NY 10036 USA

You can also contact the Swedish Film Institute, which provided significant funding for this film.

The film is currently in the nomination process with the European Academy Awards.  You can oppose this process by contacting:
Mike Downey (Chairman of EFA): [email protected]