"The Sun Ladies" is a VR documentary about the yazidi women who escaped sex slavery and joined the army to fight against ISIS in Iraq.
In 2014, ISIS fighters invaded Iraq and targeted the Yazidi community of Sinjar. The men were killed, and the women and girls taken as sex slaves. Some of the women who escaped started a female-only fighting unit called the Sun Ladies to bring back their sisters and protect the honor and dignity of their people.
In 2017 we set out to make an immersive and impactful VR documentary about the Sun Ladies to help bring awareness to their story. The project was spearheaded by actress and activist Maria Bello, and directed by war journalist Christian Stephen and VR filmmaker Celine Tricart. Quickly after conception, a small production team went over to Kurdistan, Iraq and found these women. Since completion, we premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and were accepted into more than 40 additional festivals around the world.
How was the documentary received?
- Deadline (english)
‘The Sun Ladies’ Filmmakers On Telling The Story Of “Empowered Women” Through A VR Lens – Sundance Studio
- ScoutVR (english)
"The Empowering VR Story of an All Female Brigade Fighting ISIS"
- Mashable - France 24 (french)
Cannes 2018 - Et si la réalité virtuelle n’avait du sens que dans le documentaire ?
Where are we going next?
The next step in this journey is to return to Kurdistan. The Sun Ladies VR developed in to more than a film, it became a four part experience that includes giving the audience the opportunity to write personal letters to the Sun Ladies and we need to return the letters to them. Not only do we want to make sure they receive these letters, but we want to make a follow up video showing how these women are doing since the war in Iraq ended.
Why should you help us?
After receiving such positive feedback from our film and impacting people to the point where they felt compelled to write beautiful letters to the Sun Ladies, it would be such a shame for them to never know what their story meant to so many. It would mean so much to them to read these letters and know that they have support from all over the world. We don't just want them to be told that their story means something, we want them to have the opportunity to read personal letters written to them - a human to human connection.
What will your contribution go towards?
Your contribution will go towards a few things:
- The translation of the letters to Kurdish so the Sun Ladies can read them.
- The flight and lodging in Kurdistan as well as the means to access where they are in the country.
- If we are able to surpass our $10,000 goal, the extra money will go towards making a video showing a follow up to the Sun Ladies story, two years after the first film.
Of course with a project like this there are risks, starting with being able to get so many letters translated from different languages into Kurdish, which is not a language many speak. Another risk is getting into Iraq and accessing the Sun Ladies as quickly as we hope.
We have been faced with greater challenges than these in making the VR film in the first place and we have no doubt that we can overcome any challenges or risks that come our way in this next phase. We are an incredible team who have already proven that we work well together and thrive at making things happen!