Hêza (Strenght) / Hêza

country, year
Kurdistan, Iraq, Syria, 2022


running time

directed by
Derya Deniz



about the film
This documentary is about a Yazidi woman who had been enslaved during the attack of the Islamic State (ISIS) on Shengal (Sinjar) which started on 3 August 2014. It tells what she’d lived through in the hands of ISIS, how she managed to escape, and how she carried on with her life after her escape.
Heza, never in her wildest dream thought she one day will be commanding hundreds of men and women fighters in to a battle against the worlds most dangerous jihadist terror organisation (ISIS) and defeat them.  This documentary is a living testimony of Heza’s pain and suffering and her fight for justice.

about the author 
Derya Deniz was born in Turkey’s southern province of Mersin in 1985. Her family was from the Siverek district of the southeastern Urfa province. After graduating from the Ivanova University in Russia, she is working on documentary projects and TV programs. She also worked as a TV programmer in the Kurdistan Federal Region, and produced documentaries in Shengal and The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.

‘Witnessing the 74th farman of the Yazidi people was the unraveling of centuries-old stories before my eyes. The tales we’d heard from our grandparents actually happened on 3 August 2014. The Islamic State was murdering the Yazidis, the oldest ethno religious commmunity of the Kurds, before the eyes of the whole world because of their beliefs, enslaving them and selling them in slave markets. But the 74th farman has been different from the previous farmans, resulting in the creation of self-defence mechanisms by the daughters and sons of the Yazidi people. What impressed me most in my visit to Shengal was seeing Yazidi women now capable of defending themselves, as ithe mages of women sold in the slave markets were no longer there. This valiant struggle of the Yazidi women born from their ashes was worth telling and documenting. Hêza was one of the closest witnesses of the 74th farman. I just wanted everyone to hear and see what happened. I consider my work a debt to all the Yazidi women and children who’d suffered the 74th farman.’
Derya Deniz, the director

festivals and awards
Druk International Film Festival, Bhutan, Bhutan, 18 April 2022, BEST DOCUMENTARY
Boden International Film Festival, Stockholm, Sweden, 6 April 2022, BEST FIRST TIME DOCUMENTARY
La Independent Women Film Awards, New York, United States, 3 May 2022, BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY

Hêza (2022)