The Last Dance of Kocho is a compelling short film that recounts the harrowing experience of ethnic Yazidi families who were attacked by Islamic State militants. The film uniquely captures the pain and stories of the girls and their families through watercolors painted by VOA Kurdish journalist Lukman Ahmad.
The story begins at a wedding in the Iraqi village of Kocho, a few months before the Islamic State arrived. It was one of the village’s last celebrations before IS militants slaughtered the men and older women, and kidnapped hundreds of young women. Through his paintings, Ahmad tells the stories of these girls who were beaten, raped, and sold as sex slaves. The result is a different kind of storytelling that both informs the audience and touches their hearts by effectively connecting them to the victims’ ongoing pain.
Video of news stories depicting the killing of innocent civilians, particularly children and women, can be traumatizing to viewers. Utilizing the artistic medium of watercolors communicates the story in a creative way that extends the reach to a wider audience demographic.
The moving film garnered 243,000 views on VOA English’s Facebook page, with more than 5,400 reactions, comments & shares. It was also adapted into multiple languages within the South and Central Asia division for broadcasting.
Illustrator and Painter: Kurdish Journalist Lukman Ahmad
Writer and Director: Amish Srivastava
Narrator: Paul Alexander