Terms of Reference

Minority Rights Group International invites independent documentary filmmakers to tender for a documentary film of festival/broadcast quality on the role of reconciliation in a post-ISIS Iraq.

To a brief decided in collaboration with MRG, you will produce, direct, shoot and edit a documentary of festival and mainstream broadcast quality, of about 20-25 minutes in length, with a 3-min trailer/summary version.

We are looking for a filmmaker to bring their unique combination of journalistic news-gathering and cinematic eye to bring a new perspective to the issue of reconciliation and highlight the realities of the challenges and progress being made in this regard.

MRG is looking to produce a documentary that could analyse the obstacles to reconciliation in Iraq and consider the benefits, risks and sustainability of local reconciliation efforts.


In Iraq, ethnic and religious minorities have been facing attacks and discrimination for years without redress, seen in mass expulsions from their historical homelands, summary execution, forced conversion, and destruction of their cultural and religious sites. Women are subject to high levels of gender-based violence, including, but not limited to kidnapping, rape, and sexual slavery.

Of the almost 6 million people displaced since the rise of ISIS in 2014, around 2.6 million remain displaced at the beginning of 2018. With many territories retaken from ISIS control, there have been vast numbers of returns, and OCHA further predicts as many as two million displaced Iraqis may return to their homes in 2018.

Conditions or attacks which led to these displacements have given rise to tensions between ethnic/religious communities and/or neighbouring communities, particularly in areas where ISIS retains or once held local support. Despite the number of returns and foreseeable end of major anti-ISIS operations, these tensions have resulted in somewhat volatile and unstable social dynamics. Feelings of betrayal and lack of trust amongst civilians are high, giving rise to a sense of insecurity amongst returning minorities as well as risk of reprisal attacks.

‘National reconciliation’ is often cited as a prerequisite for return and rebuilding a post-ISIS Iraq, but is often considered in rather abstract terms. Members of civil society affected by the conflict, particularly minorities, often express little hope or desire for reconciliation due to the severity of their losses and the insecurity of their future. Local opinion is clear that there can be no reconciliation without accountability.

In order to assist in the preparatory research, we suggest the following sources:

On Minorities and IDPs

Brief outline and purpose of the film:

Ideally, the filmmaker will choose a central character or group, who will help an international audience to understand the severity of abuses suffered by minorities in Iraq and how this can hinder reconciliation. The film should identify some existing local reconciliation efforts and the challenges of reconciliation including local views and the importance of accountability. The film may focus on reconciliation between different religious communities, neighbouring communities, neighbours, or even national reconciliation.

We would like to give the film-maker considerable artistic freedom in identifying the story-line and dramatic arc of the film. MRG needs the film to achieve certain objectives:

  • The film should provide insight of positive reconciliation efforts but should not seek to hide pessimistic outlooks or challenges regarding reconciliation.
  • The film should provide the audience with a basic understanding of the current situation of displaced minorities (in regards to return and reconciliation).
  • The film should support a message of the possibilities / realities of reconciliation, with an underlining call for accountability.

We leave it up to the film-maker to find the right balance between the general story and specific situations.

MRG has a strong commitment to expose how women often face discrimination and would appreciate the film’s central character, or one of the central characters, therefore being a woman.

The filmmakers will work closely with civil society organisations with whom MRG is working in Iraq, and much of the footage will be shot on the ground in Iraq.

The language of the film should be English, and where this is not achievable for specific parts of the film, English subtitles should be provided.

Owing to the nature of the subject and context within which the filmmakers will be working, including security concerns for those appearing in the film and filmmakers, MRG will apply the following criteria when short listing submissions:


  • At least one member of the team must have fluent Arabic and English
  • Experience of film making in difficult environments (conflict, transition, etc.), preferably in Iraq
  • Experience of working with grassroots activists or civil society
  • Experience working with vulnerable communities
  • Sensitivity to security concerns of both film crew and those appearing in the film


In depth knowledge of Iraq


Approximately EUR 17,500 is available for the film. This includes the cost of translation.

To apply:

Please send the following by email to mays.al-juboori@mrgmail.org and miriam.puttick@mrgmail.org:

  1. An outline of your approach to the story, which should be around 500 – 800 words and include: any background you think might inform the story (three key points of what makes this newsworthy), issues you think should be covered or might arise for vulnerable communities in the region, and how the story might be filmed and framed in terms of narrative, style and approach.
  2. Your Filmmaker’s CV
  3. A proposed budget for the project to include pre-production, production and post-production, which includes all costs (travel, per diem etc). Also a schedule covering days needed to film for this length as well as an editing schedule.
  4. Links to your film work online. 


The film is being produced as part of MRG’s Programme to strengthen human rights defenders organisations working with vulnerable civilians in Iran and Iraq, which is funded by the European Union. This content is the sole responsibility of MRG and under no circumstances can be seen as reflecting the position of the EU.


Share this content: