Private Project


Qadr, a 6-year-old girl, watched through the sniper scope by an ISIS sniper, is knocking on her mother’s closed bedroom door trying to open it and calling her mother with no response under the never-ending sounds of gunfire and explosions.

Meanwhile, her mother Iqbal (25) continues reading the Quran hearing her daughter’s voice and the continuous knocking that filled up the house. She cannot open the door for her girl and calls her husband who was supposed to pick her up. But after her husband rejects her and their daughter’s life, betraying her and proclaiming the mission more important, she starts doubting ISIS perverted beliefs in fear for her daughter’s life.

Iqbal knows that her life is nearing its end. To keep her daughter safe, she has to follow ISIS order and fulfill the ultimate sacrifice of opening the crossing at the checkpoint. Her last hopes are lost with a call from ISIS notifying her that her husband is killed. Iqbal is now ordered to move out on the mission and take her little girl with her. Her daughter and her motherly feeling of love make her realize that everything she believed in was a lie and changes her heart and inner true desire of being a Mujahidah and going to Paradise.

  • Maytham Jbara
  • Maytham Jbara
  • Ali Jbara
  • Huda Alkadhimi
  • Michel Kandinsky
  • Rudhab
    Key Cast
    "Ahmed "
  • Marwa
    Key Cast
    "Rayan "
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 10, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    67,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Ishtar Iraq Film Production
    Country: Iraq
    Rights: All Rights
    Country: Jordan
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Maytham Jbara

Maytham is an Iraqi filmmaker, producer and cinematographer who grew up in a family of filmmakers in Baghdad. He studied Cinema and Television at the College of Fine Arts, University of Baghdad, and took numerous workshops for filmmaking, editing, art of lighting, screenwriting and film production, through which he developed a broad set of skills.

In 2010, Maytham started working as a cinematographer at the Iraqi Independent Film Center. His first work was as a camera assistant on Mohammed Al Darraji’s feature Son of Babylon. He then worked as a D.O.P. on three feature-length and ten short films. Many of these films have been nominated and awarded at the leading film festivals, including Cannes, Venice, Berlin, TIFF, Sundance, Busan, Malmo and others. Among his notable credits are films Path of Maryam (2016), The Journey (2017), and the most recent ones Haifa Street (2019) and Mosul 980 (2019). He made his debut as a writer and a director with his fiction short film Qadr.

Most of Maytham’s work focuses on humanitarian issues and freedom in his home country, Iraq. People and their lives have always been important to him and are the central part of his works.

Because of his career, Maytham was threatened by a radical group in Iraq and forced to leave the country. He is currently based in Toronto, Canada, where he is actively working on several projects as a producer and, at any opportunity, aspires to help and teach young filmmakers.

Selected Filmography:

HANGING GARDENS, (in post-production)
THE AMBULANCE, (in pre-production)
THE BLACK LAND (in development)
PAPION ON THE WATER TANK (in pre-production)
90 DAYS (in post-production)
(2019): MOSUL 980
(2018): BLUE SILK

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Director Statement

Iqbal and her daughter Qadr have occupied my mind since I heard all over the media the breaking news under the headlines “A mother and her child daughter are suicide bombers at a checkpoint in Mosul”. As a filmmaker, I could not ignore and silently watch this happening without looking for the truth and the story behind the recruitment of this woman, a mother who made her daughter be one of her victims. I could not simply believe that this is just a belief that motivates a person to kill their child. And as I suspected, there was a psychological and physical manipulation behind it.

Qadr means fate in Arabic. She is a little girl who ended up being a terrorist without even knowing what violence is. I insisted to discover and consequently show the reasons for her role in this attack and the behind-the-scenes of the explosion. What has shocked me was finding out that there were many child soldiers and many deluded people from different countries involved in ISIS, from which the world powers, the "big chess players", have benefited. Me, or maybe we, are in need to know who are the real terrorists and what are their desires in any attack, whether in Mosul, Canada, Germany, France, or other country, whether they are motivated by religion or otherwise, and whether the attacks are addressed to a specific group of people or randomly.

Iqbal is one of the women who were following their husbands, as being raised to do so according to the accustomed norms of the society and religious rules and beliefs and not knowing anything different, lacking education due to the poor state of the society. The husbands who were recruited by ISIS and became one of their fighters seeking to build a new religion. Being lured by her husband’s and ISIS religious promises and promises for her daughter’s safety at first, as the story unfolds, Iqbal begins to realize that these religious illusions and promises were just a lie made up to serve ISIS interests and nothing more. ISIS fighters, being trapped by the Iraqi army besieging them inside the city of Mosul, wanted to control and pressure Iqbal, by separating her from her daughter, promising her safety in return for the ultimate sacrifice, for the higher goal, and by placing a sniper over her daughter's head, to ensure she serves them as another human shield blowing herself off to open the checkpoint for them.

It is through Qadr that Iqbal returns to her humanity and her heart and mind. She is now fighting a psychological war to preserve her child. And, despite enduring the nerve racking atrocious circumstances and her fear, aware of everything she was doing, Iqbal demonstrates patience to the last moment for there might be a hope to save her daughter and to prevent her child from paying the price of her wrongs.

The explosion that occurred near the house made Iqbal scream and hit her head on the door, which became an obstacle between her and her child, and Iqbal’s madness fills up the room. By putting Iqbal into a closed environment, immersed in dark colors, a strong feeling of anxiety, fear and death, I wanted to show the depth of the agony of Iqbal, a person driven forcedly to the fate that was chosen for her.

ISIS, The Dark State, a terrorist group that occupied Mosul and other cities in Iraq and Syria for more than 3 years. During their control, thousands of attacks were executed by them. The watchers from different ideologies judge all the attackers as terrorists, but behind each one of them there is a story, and if we know these stories, the tragedies can be prevented.