New Festival Screenings for Oksijan

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Glad to report that Oksijan continues its march through the international film festival scene, thanks to the help of our friends at Festival Formula who are handling the insanely complicated submissions process.

Latest screenings include the prestigious 41st Portland International Film Festival, the 6th Nepal International Human Rights Festival and an Award of Excellence at the Accolade Global Film Competition.

So glad that the vitally important story of Ahmad’s fight for survival is being shown around the world – hopefully making people think about what more we can do to help the millions of child refugees like him.

Here’s a place to start – offer whatever help you can to the charities Help Refugees and Meena, both of whom were crucial to the effort to save Ahmad and the 14 other refugees trapped with him inside the refrigerated lorry.

Escape from ISIS Charity in the News

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I was overjoyed to see this ITV News at Ten report on the Amar Foundation’s fantastic work helping women & girls who were kidnapped by ISIS recover from their trauma.

The report shows the practical positive impact the charity’s Escaping Darkness appeal is having on the ground, two years after it was launched in response to the huge public reaction to Escape from ISIS.

And it features the one and only Khaleel! I haven’t seen him for a long time, great to know he’s still hard at work trying to bring all the women and girls back to safety.

Keep up the good work everybody. Here’s to the day when all those young women have been brought safely home.

Oksijan LFF Screenings Sold Out

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Very pleased to say that our two LFF screenings as part of the ‘Thrill of the Chase’ short film showcase have now sold out!

Hopefully it’s not just friends and family of the production team… And I guess some people must be coming to see one of the other great films in the collection.

Still… exciting. With 24 hours to go.

Oksijan: BFI London Film Festival Official Selection

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We’re all delighted to announce that OKSIJAN has been accepted into the BFI London Film Festival! We’re one of about 100 shorts that will be playing across the eleven day programme  It’s a great honour and accolade for the hard work the whole team put in.

The film is screening on October 5th at the Curzon Soho and Friday 6th at NFT2, as part of the ‘Thrill of the Chase’ showcase. Grab them quickly because they’re selling fast!


Oksijan: Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign Launched

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Excited to announce that we have just launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise completion funds for our short film OKSIJAN.

Oksijan is an independent short film based on the incredible true story of a seven-year old Afghan refugee’s battle to survive as he was smuggled to the UK in the back of a refrigerated lorry and the air inside began to run out.

We have already shot the film, with a fantastic cast including rising British star Ella Purnell, and an award-winning crew including the cinematographer of Oscar-winning short Stutterer. Now we need your help to get us over the line!

All money raised will help to pay for the edit, post-production and distribution, giving this film a chance to be as good as it can be and spread its message of hope far and wide.

So please share our campaign with your networks – use the indiegogo “share” feature and tag us #OKSIJANfilm to help us spread the word

Also please like our Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter we’ll keep you up-to-date with our progress @oksijanfilm

Thanks from all the team,


We’ve Got #Refugenes – Have you?

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I’m proud to have made a small contribution to this important campaign by the fantastic charity Help Refugees.

They gathered a number of Britain’s leading lights including Rita Ora, Jamie Callum, the Freud sisters and Richard Rogers to step forward and talk about their origins as refugees who fled to this country.

When you consider all they have achieved and contributed, just think what today’s refugees might do if we only gave them a chance.

They’ve got #refugenes – have you?

You can find out more about the campaign at

And please continue to help the millions of refugees still in need today

UK – text REFU to 70700 to donate £5

US – text REFU to 41444 to donate

I helped direct the edit, alongside the project’s mastermind, the wonderful Lliana Bird and BAFTA-nominated editor Matt Gray.

Huge thanks must also go to my steadfast consigliere Enge Gray and Jez Spencer who both generously donated their time and resources to grade and mix the film.

They did their bit for humanity! Please do yours.

Yazidi Survivor Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

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I wanted to share an incredible story of hope that has come out of the Islamic State atrocities committed against women in Iraq – the horror of which I covered in Escape from ISIS.

One 21-year old woman, Nadia Murad, who had endured the worst sexual violence of anyone I met, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by her home country, Iraq.

Despite everything she suffered, Nadia has been tireless in her efforts to raise awareness of the plight of young women held in sexual slavery by ISIS, thousands of whom still remain in captivity – in the video above, you can see her testify before the UN Security Council, and she has met Presidents and Prime Ministers around the world. The impact of her story is overwhelming. She has been accompanied and supported by Khaleel’s wife, Amena.

I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of the prize.


Awards for Escape from ISIS

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I have been travelling for the past few months, exploring new frontiers in Asia and the Pacific. While I’ve been gone, Escape from ISIS has won a number of prestigious awards.

In November, we were honoured to win Amnesty International’s award for Best Human Rights Documentary 2015. There’s a pic of the team up on stage.

The same month we won the Foreign Press Association of London’s award for Best TV Feature 2015.

In February, the film was recognised by the television industry with the 2016 Broadcast award for Best News & Current Affairs programme.

The same month, I was delighted to hear that we had won a prestigious Royal Television Society award for Best International Current Affairs film.

Finally, the Overseas Press Club of America also honoured the US version of the film with its award for Best International Reporting (broadcast) late in April.

It is a great honour to receive such accolades. Thanks to all the institutions involved – and thanks once again to the team who made the film what it is.



Award Nominations for Escape from ISIS

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I could not be happier to announce two award nominations and one win for the Escape from ISIS team.

First off, my fantastic fixer Hassan Ashwor has won the prestigious Martin Adler award from the Rory Peck Trust for his tireless work supporting international coverage of the conflict with ISIS – including of course his indispensable support for me on Escape from ISIS. Couldn’t have done it without him, so well done Hassan.

The film has also been nominated in the Best Feature Documentary Category at the Foreign Press Association Awards, alongside brilliant work by film-makers like Dan Edge and Nick Read, two of the best Directors around.

Finally, I am also extremely honoured to let you know that I have been nominated for the Best Non-Fiction Director of 2015 by the Royal Television Society. As many of you know, I won’t be in the country when the winner is announced at the ceremony on November 30th – but keep your fingers crossed!