Banaz: A Love Story

In a brutal honor killing committed by her family, Banaz Mahmod, a young British Kurdish woman in London, warns law enforcement of the threat to her life with no avail. Only too late, police efforts brought her killers to justice.

A film by Deeyah Khan with Fuuse Films (UK | 2012 | 1hr 9mins).

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About Deeyah Khan

Deeyah Khan is an international music producer and activist turned filmmaker, who has herself been subject to honor related abuse and threat. It was Deeyah's love for the story, for Banaz, for Bekhal, and for Caroline, and for raising awareness for the issue of honor killing, which drove her to spend four years making this harrowing and deeply emotional film. Despite running out of funding long before the project's completion, Deeyah formed an intimate bond with all the key characters, which plays out onscreen in scenes of astonishingly confessional testimony.

Director’s Statement

Banaz Mahmod was murdered by her own family, in an honor killing. This film tells Banaz's story, in her own words, for the first time and tells the story of the extraordinary police team who refused to give up, and finally brought her killers to justice. It was a case which shocked the entire world and received enormous international press coverage; but until now, the voice of Banaz herself has never been heard.

As the result of four painstaking years gaining the trust and cooperation of the extraordinary police officers who solved the case, the film contains heart-breaking footage of Banaz herself, detailing the horrors she was facing and accurately predicting her own brutal murder. The footage, which has never before been seen and has been obtained by the filmmakers for the first time, displays the warmth, beauty, and courage of Banaz. Despite the horror, what emerges is a story of love:

Of Banaz, an ordinary young British teenager, whose relationship with Rahmat put her life in danger. It was her video messages from beyond the grave which convicted her father and uncle of the murder she feared would happen.

Of Bekhal, a young woman of incredible spirit and bravery, whose love for her murdered sister gave her the strength to testify against her own family and community bringing justice to Banaz but consigning her to a life forever lived in hiding.

Of Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode, the senior Scotland Yard detective, who says she came to love Banaz beyond the grave. It was Carolines dedication and passion which drove her on, finding her body against all the odds, laying her to rest, and relentlessly pursuing her killers, even to Iraq.

Banaz is a symbol of horror and hope in the fight to overcome oppression and outdated, abominable cultural practices, practices which claim the lives of thousands of other women like Banaz every year.

But above all, the film is an act of remembrance, an act of recovery of Banaz, one human being. After her family tried so brutally to erase her from the face of the earth, for the first time, Banaz’s voice is finally being heard.

If we were to be awarded a monetary prize we would use this to fund free screenings of our film in educational institutions so that we can educate and help people understand the issue of honor-based violence better, and to help them consider what can be done to prevent or reduce these crimes. We would also look to use this as an opportunity to launch a campaign to put pressure on governments to take honor-based violence seriously.

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About Fuuse

Based in Oslo and London, Fuuse is an independent media and arts production company that tells the stories of those often silenced or ignored by the media. Fuuse exists to make heard the voices of women, people from minorities and third culture kids, to encourage debate and to celebrate diversity.

Over the past few years, Fuuse has reached audiences of millions across more than 25 countries. Their first ever documentary film Banaz: A Love Story won an Emmy and Peabody award. The creative expression of Fuuse’s founder Deeyah Khan, a self-described "third-culture kid in a western country", informs every aspect of what the company does. Fuuse is about telling diverse stories, across multiple platforms, for the widest audience possible.


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