While the Grammy’s hashtag #GrammysSoMale continues to trend, women topped the winners list at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Among the women directors and writers who took home awards was Alexandria Bombach, who received the U.S. Documentary Directing prize for her powerful film “On Her Shoulders,” about Yazidi activist and survivor Nadia Murad.

Film synopsis – Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi, survived genocide and sexual slavery committed by ISIS. Mobbed by iPhone cameras and pushy reporters, 23-year-old Nadia Murad leads a harrowing but vital crusade: to find the most influential platforms in the world and speak out on behalf of the embattled Yazidi community who face mass extermination by ISIS militants. Having narrowly escaped with her own life, Nadia must now relentlessly recount on radio shows, at rallies, and even on the floor of the United Nation’s general assembly her ordeal as a Yazidi sex slave and witness to her family’s brutal killings. Though excruciating, she forces herself to revisit these realities again and again. For without her testimony, the genocide happening right in front of the world’s eyes might go completely unnoticed.

With a formal precision and elegance that matches Nadia’s calm and steely demeanor, filmmaker Alexandria Bombach brings us inside an exhausting, destabilizing journey fraught with personal pain and profound ethical urgency. From the refugee camps in Greece to the gilded halls of power, we observe a woman repurpose unimaginable trauma into a powerful rallying cry for justice. – Sundance

“It has been the biggest honor of my life to be able to get to know these humans, to tell this story, to make this film,” Alexandria shared on her Facebook page. “I am a completely different person from when I started it.”

Some more women who scored big prizes:

Grand Jury Prize in the U.S. dramatic competition – Desiree Akhavan, The Miseducation of Cameron Post

U.S. Dramatic Directing Prize – Sara Colangelo, The Kindergarten Teacher

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award -Christina Choe, Nancy


On Her Shoulders is expected to be released later this year. For updates, follow Alexandria on Facebook or Twitter. You can find more information about what is happening to the Yazidi people here.