Nowhere to Hide follows male nurse Nori Sharif through five years of dramatic change, providing unique access into one of the world’s most dangerous and inaccessible areas – the “triangle of death” in central Iraq. Initially filming stories of survivors and the hope of a better future as American and Coalition troops retreat from Iraq in 2011, conflicts continue with Iraqi militias, and the population flees accompanied by most of the hospital staff.

Nori is one of the few who remain. When ISIS advances on Jalawla in 2014 and takes over the city, he too must flee with his family at a moment’s notice, and turns the camera on himself.

Sarah with bullet

Nowhere To Hide should be required viewing for anyone with an opinion about the refugee crisis.”

- Screendaily

“There are those films, which are wonderful to see and there are films that the world needs to see. The film we choose is both of these things. The experience was immersive and left us deeply touched. The director respected the unique perspective that only the subject could have and in doing so he gave us an unprecedented window into the real life lasting consequences of war.”

IDFA Jury statement

Sharif’s compassionate and poetic documentation, told with unflinching honesty, presents a humanistic portrait of a troubled people very different from the news images broadcast around the world during the last few decades.”


Shattered bodies prove easier to fix than broken countries in Zaradasht Ahmed’s Nowhere to Hide, a first-person immersion in four turbulent years in the life of an Iraqi medic.”

- Hollywood Reporter

“Zaradasht Ahmed’s ‘Nowhere to Hide’ Takes Top Prize at IDFA… An insider’s account of the hellish aftermath of the Iraq war charts the path to today’s unsettled world”

Variety, Damon Wise

This is a story of a man struggling for survival in Iraq…

where war has become the norm. The enemy is invisible, and neither women nor children have a safe hideout. Our protagonist, 36-year-old Nori Sharif, is husband, father of four children, and a male nurse. He becomes a videographer, documenting life over several years in one of Iraq’s most dangerous provinces: Diyala.

By following Nori we take part in his daily life. We are with him as another war erupts after the American retreat in 2011; a new war without fronts, uniforms or common rules. Without choosing sides, Nori records destruction as well as hope from this war zone. But it is the beginning of the end. The film stretches over a period of five years, beginning with the hope of a better future, to witnessing the growth of ISIS (the Islamic State), and eventually the fall of Nori’s home town. As Nori keeps filming throughout this period of time, he begins to turn the camera on himself.

Nori’s narrative represents persistence, hope and faith. But, in this new reality of being squeezed between two giant forces – ISIS on one side and the Iraqi militias on the other, is it possible to remain impartial and keep his family intact? Will he and his family survive, and be able to rebuild the country and the oasis that lies hidden behind the smoke and rubble?

  • CREW

    • Director: Zaradasht Ahmed
    • Producer: Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas
    • Co-Producers: Hans Husum, Stina Gardell
    • Photographers: Zaradasht Ahmed & Nori Sharif
    • Editor: Eva Hillström sfk
    • Additional photography: Fouad Baqi
    • Production Co-ordinator, Iraq: Fouad Baqi
    • Location Manager, Kalar Iraq: Hiwa Ali
    • Production Company: Ten Thousand Images
    • Co-Producers: Pasaremos, Mantaray Film
    • Distribution Services: East Village Entertainment, Diana Holtzberg
    • Festival Distribution: East Village Entertainment, Diana Holtzberg & Norwegian Film Institute, Toril Simonsen

    • Duration: Festival 86 min / Tv Hour
    • Format: HD, DCP
    • Screen Ratio: 16:9
    • Sound Format: 5,1 Surround, Stereo
    • Languages: Arabic with english, norwegian subtitles


Director and Photographer Zaradasht Ahmed is a Kurdish/Norwegian Filmmaker. He was born and raised in Northern Iraq. His previous work includes the award-winning “Road to Diyarbakir”, and he has many years of experience working with documentary filmmaking in the Middle East, North-Africa, and Asia, as well as training local people in documentation. His latest film on the topic of illegal immigration to Europe (for SVT Swedish Television) – “Fata Morgana”, has been screened at several prestigious Film festivals.

My ambition is to let the audience reflect on the human consequences of a brutal reality where all taboos are violated.

With “Nowhere to Hide” I want to show that we are all part of this reality – war, explosions, victims, terrorism, they affect us globally, and we are all responsible, despite our geographical whereabouts. Meanwhile, I want to show the human resistance that is growing among these survivors; to show the hope of rebuilding after the breakdown of civilization.

In the end, as humans, the only thing that can help us survive is to believe that the will to build will always be stronger than the desire to destroy.


Fifteen years after the US-led invasion of Iraq the country continues to dominate the headlines with stories of sectarian violence, bombings, kidnappings, corruption and dire poverty, human displacement and a massive refugee crisis.

Institutions and infrastructures are breaking down, and the de-stabilization of the region continues to reach new areas. The country has become a breeding ground for new and diverging religious, ethnic and political conflicts that also spreads far beyond the Arabian Peninsula. A lot of land is now in the Islamic state’s (IS) hands; a seemingly undefined army of international jihadist, mercenaries, ex-military and clans that don’t seem to have any greater common long-term strategy than power and influence.

During the first years after the US invasion a war pattern was obvious: that being between the occupier and the opposition forces. But in 2006-8 there was a change in character; ethnic sectarianism flared up and the violence became increasingly unpredictable and random. Families, tribes and communities were divided, and it became difficult to distinguish friend from foe. How can one give a truthful picture of this state of war when the areas are forbidden “no-go”-zones, and the survivors are without a voice? By training and directing Nori Sharif to film his surrounding, this has become a possibility.


IDFA International Documentary Festival AmsterdamAmsterdam Netherland2016, Nov 16-27Winner – Best Feature Length Documentary
TIFF Tromsø International Film FestivalTromsø Norway2017, Jan 16-22Screenings Jan 17,18 & 21

GFF Gøteborg Film FestivalGøteborg Sweden2017, Jan 27 – Feb 06Nominated: Dragon Award for Best Nordic Documentary
Screenings Jan 30,31 & Feb 1,5
Director Zaradasht Ahmed will be present

Best of IDFA on tourNetherland2017
Human Rights Human Wrongs
Documentary Film Festival
Oslo Norway2017, Feb 14-19Screenings Feb 15, 17 & 18
Director Zaradasht Ahmed will be present

Boulder International Film Festival
Boulder, USA2017, March 2-5Screenings March 5th

Thessaloniki International Film FestivalThessaloniki, Greece2017, March Screenings March 8 & 9
Director Zaradasht Ahmed will be there!

Trondheim International Film Festival
Trondheim, Norway2017, March 6-12Sceenings March 9, 11, 12
NTNU Seminar: Face of Terror

One World
Human Rights Film Festival
Prague, Czech Republic2017, March 6-15International Competition
Screenings March 9, 12, 13
Director Zaradasht Ahmed will be present at selected screenings.

Tempo Documentary Festival
Stockholm, Sweden2017, March 6-12Screenings March 12th
Director Zaradasht Ahmed will be present

International Film Festival and Forum
on Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland2017, March 10-19Creative Documentaries Competition
Screenings March 11 & 16
Director Zaradasht Ahmed will be present

Human Rights Watch Film FestivalLondon UK2017, March 6-17London Closing Night March 17
Director Zaradasht Ahmed will be present

CHP:DOXCopenhagen, Denmark2017, March 16-26Top Dox Secion
Screening 20 & 26 March
Director Zaradasht Ahmed will be present at selected screenings

Stavanger Domkirke / Stavanger CathedralStavanger, Norway2017, March 22Special Stavanger Premiere.
Director Zaradasht Ahmed will be present.
AmandusfestivalenLillehammer, Norway2017, March 22-26thScreengs 24th & 25th March.
Director Zaradasht Ahmed will be present on the 24th.
EurodokOslo, Norway2017, March 29th – April 2ndScreening March 29th
Director Zaradasht Ahmed will be present

Sarasota Film FestivalSarasota, Florida, USA2017, March 31st – April 9thDocumentary Feature Competition
Screening April 7th & April 9th



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