Quest For Honor

Quest for Honor follows Runak Faranj, tireless activist and editor of Kurdish Women's Media Center newspaper Rewan (Dawn) and young reporter Kalthum Ibrahim as they work with local lawmen, journalists, and members of the Kurdistan Regional Government (the KRG), to solve the murder of a widowed young mother, protect the victim of a safe house shooting, eradicate honor killing and redefine honor. The film premiered at Sundance, short-listed for the 2010 Oscars, and received the Van Gogh Grand Jury Award at the Amsterdam Film Festival.

  • Mary Ann Smothers Bruni
  • Mary Ann Smothers Bruni
  • Kristian Dane Lawing
    Director of Photography
  • Behzad Oliadonnighi
    2nd Unit Director of Photography
  • Wendy Blackstone
    Original Music/Composer
  • Mary Ann Smothers Bruni
  • Lawrence Taub
  • Frances Farenthold
    Executive Producers
  • Philip Knox Key
    Executive Producers
  • Sarah Elizabeth Lamar Bruni
    Executive Producers
  • Conan Chadbourne
    Supervising Producer
  • Birusk Tugan
  • Warzer Jaff
  • Katia Maguire
  • Lawen Asad
    Associate Producer
  • Hemen Kaikay
    Associate Producer
  • Nariman Addullah Ali
    Production Manager
  • Rashin Mazaheri
    Assistant Director
  • Mohammed Saddik Barzani
    Assistant Director
  • Mary Bean
    Art Director
  • Deborah Dickson
  • Gabriel Ernest Rhodes
  • Tim Ivy
  • Nancy Baker
    Consulting Editor
  • Bryan Quinn
    Associate Editor
  • Bryan Dembinski
    Sound Recordist
  • Diana Elizabeth Ruston
    Sound Recordist
  • Post Works, New York
    Production Services
  • Tina Melo
    Legal Counsel
  • Rick Gump
    Legal Counsel
  • Charla Truett
    Legal Counsel
  • Jody Blazek, CPA
  • Runak Faranj
    Key Cast
  • Runak Rauf
    Key Cast
  • Kalthum Ibrahim
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 3 minutes 35 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 31, 2009
  • Production Budget:
    12,000,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Sundance
    Park City, UT
    United States
    January 19, 2009
    World Premier
    Official Selection
  • Cleveland International Film Festival
    Cleveland, OH
    United States
    March 22, 2010
    Official Selection
  • New Hampshire Film Festival
    Portsmouth, NH
    United States
    October 16, 2009
    Official Selection
  • New Orleans Film Festival
    New Orleans, LA
    United States
    October 12, 2009
    Official Selection
  • Nashville Film Festival
    Nashville, TN
    United States
    April 19, 2010
    Official Selection
  • Milano International Film Festival
    May 11, 2009
    Offical Selection, MIFF Award Nominee
  • Amsterdam Film Festival
    May 1, 2010
    Van Gogh Grand Jury Prize
  • Bergen International Film Festival
    October 22, 2009
    Official Selection
  • Heartland Film Festival
    Indianapolis, IN
    United States
    October 17, 2009
    Official Selection
  • STARZ Denver Film Festival
    Denver, CO
    United States
    November 14, 2009
    Official Selection
  • London Kurdish Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    November 22, 2009
    Official Selection
  • Women's Film Festival
    Brattleboro, VT
    United States
    March 6, 2010
    Official Selection
  • Washington DC Independent Film Festival
    Washington, DC
    United States
    March 8, 2010
    Official Selection
  • Tallgrass Film Festival
    Wichita, KS
    United States
    October 23, 2010
    Official Selection
    August 25, 2011
    Official Selection
  • The Royal Film Commission
    March 31, 2011
  • Red Sea Institute of Cinamatic Arts
    March 29, 2011
Distribution Information
  • Women Make Movies
    Country: United States
Director Biography - Mary Ann Smothers Bruni

Filmmaker Mary Ann Bruni has visited Kurdistan since 1991. Her documentary Quest for Honor premiered at 2009 Sundance Film Festival, short-listed for the 2010 Oscars, and won the 2010 Van Gogh Grand Jury Award at Amsterdam Film Festival. For her earlier work on Texas' Spanish heritage, Bruni received a lazo de dama from the Order of Isabel la Catolica, awarded by Juan Carlos, King of Spain.

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Director Statement

While international human rights organizations work to combat the practice of honor killings, it is the women activists, such as those portrayed in Quest for Honor who wake up to the every day realities and boldly face these horror head on. Cooperating with local police, doctors, lawyers, and politicians in their communities, these brave women save the lives of many women, while working to change mentalities and prevent future crimes. Witout proper analysis and knowledge the West cannot appropriately support the women, lawmen, and governments who are fighting this plague without being seduced into believing negative cultural stereotypes and further victimizing these communities.

Our subjects show how investigations of honor killings are handled and the lawmen's, activists' and villagers' diverse attitudes towards these murders. They allow us to experience safe houses, markets, and daily work both in the countryside and cities.

Kurds were on both sides of our cameras--busy as co-producers, assistant directors, story consultants, cameramen, production managers, advisors and translators. While we valued expert opinions, we let the Kurds involved tell their own story and reveal themselves without explanations or interruptions from outsiders or experts.

While Quest for Honor count not have been filmed in some countries, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KG) was not only open, but was extremely helpful to our filming. The KRG itself is fighting the problem of "honor killing" by creating better safe houses and establishing a special Agency to Prevent Violence Against Women. That agency gave us exclusive access to follow the high profile case of Jasmin (pseudonym), the woman who was shot at Asuda Safe House, whose story is featured in Quest for Honor.