The Yazidis are a small ethno-religious community that dates back to Mesopotamian times. For centuries, they have lived in the region around northern Iraq—and they’ve been persecuted for almost as long. In 2014, ISIS launched a campaign of ethnic cleansing that targeted them. This genocide resulted in the deaths of more than ten thousand men, and the abduction, imprisonment, rape, and trafficking of thousands of women and children. A fortunate few have been resettled.
ISIS kept 12-year-old Dawod and his mother captive for nine months. They managed to escape, and in January of 2018, they arrived in London, Ontario. Angel Peacock—named after one of the holy beings of the Yazidi religion—follows Dawod’s first year in his new surroundings. Canadians are justifiably proud of the role their nation takes in offering a better life to many victims of conflict; Angel Peacock shows that providing shelter from violence is only the first step.
In 2014, ISIS launched a genocidal campaign that targeted the Yazidi community of northern Iraq, resulting in the imprisonment of thousands of women and children. Twelve-year-old Dawod and his mother managed to escape, and have been resettled in London, Ontario, where Angel Peacock follows his first year in his Canada.
Twelve-year-old Dawod managed to escape the ISIS genocide of the Yazidi community. Angel Peacock observes his first year after being resettled in Canada.
The Yazidis are a small Kurdish-speaking ethno-religious community that dates back to Mesopotamian times. For centuries, they’ve lived in the region that today straddles Armenia, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey—and they’ve been persecuted for almost as long. In 2014, as part of its attempt to rid its caliphate of non-Islamic religious practices, ISIS launched a campaign of ethnic cleansing that targeted the Yazidis. This genocidal thrust resulted in the deaths of more than ten thousand men, and the abduction, imprisonment, rape, and trafficking of thousands of women and children. Escapees live in refugee camps in Kurdistan; a fortunate few have been resettled in Canada and Germany.
During its attack, ISIS captured young Dawod and his mother, Naro, and imprisoned them for nine months. They managed to escape and, after nine days and nights running through the wilderness without food or water, they made their way to one of the refugee camps, and eventually to Canada. In January of 2018, they settled in London, Ontario, leaving Dawod’s father and brother behind in Iraq.
Angel Peacock—the film’s title takes its name from one of the great holy beings of the Yazidi religion—follows 12-year-old Dawod through his first year in his new surroundings. Director Peter Zvatek and his team gain intimate access to Dawod’s days, observing closely as he adjusts to a new life surrounded by a community of family, fellow refugees, and supportive educators and counselors. Canadians are justifiably proud of the role their nation takes in offering the hope of a better life to many who are victims of conflict; Angel Peacock shows that providing shelter from violence is only the first step. Nonetheless, the film ends on a high note, indicating that, for Dawod at least, the possibility of a bright future is coming into view.
Written and directed by
Director of photography
Sound design by
THE FILMMAKERS WOULD LIKE TO THANK
Eman Arnaout, Dr. Bhooma Bhayana, Kitra Cahana, Wafa Dawoud, Todd Dickey, Dalia Elbargisy, Perihan El Shamy, Mohamad El Khatib, Mahin Ghasemiyani, Helder Goulart, Jackie J.H. Hoekstra, Sherin Hussien, Shelly Jacobson, Joseph Jilitovich, Sila Joshua, Janet Lee, Amal Mahmoud, Sharif Natheir, Maggie Perquin, Suresh Shrestha, Jennifer Strong, Dr. Javeed Sukhera, Mervat Tadrus, Tola Tesfaye, Simon Webb, Ailene Wittstein, Janice Zolf, The City of London, Ontario, Thames Valley District School Board, Wilton Grove School, John A. Macdonald School, ChildREACH, Big Brothers Big Sisters of London, Merrymount Family Support and Crisis Centre
Digital Editing Technicians
Jacques Bertrand Simard
Senior Production Coordinators
Leslie Anne Poyntz
Executive Director, English Program
Michelle van Beusekom
A National Film Board of Canada production