On the frontline of the Syrian war, a 30-year-old commander leads her female battalion to retake an ISIS-controlled city and emerges severely wounded, forcing her to redefine herself in this empowering tale of emancipation and freedom.


Filmmakers: Alba Sotorra
Country: Germany, Spain, Syria
Runtime: 52', 77'
Year: 2018
Format: HD



★★★★ - Now Toronto


HotDocs Film Festival 2018

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018



On the front line of the Syrian war, 30-year-old Commander Arian guides a female battalion towards the city of Kobane to release its people from the grip of ISIS in Alba Sotorra's empowering tale of emancipation and freedom. When the war in Syria erupted, a group of women from the Kurdish resistance formed the YPJ – Women’s Protection Units. Arian, who at a young age had witnessed the barbaric treatment of sexual assault victims, leads the unit and dedicates her life to defeating ISIS. As the YPJ inches closer to its target, she implores her comrades to discover the true meaning of their fight: freedom for the next generation of women. With unprecedented access to the commander and her troops, including harrowing scenes of Arian’s slow recovery from multiple bullet wounds, Sotorra brilliantly crafts an enthralling portrait of a woman on a mission.




Alba Sotorra is an independent filmmaker and producer based in Barcelona. Her work focusses on human stories that she explores from a very personal point of view, producing films that are independent, risk-taking and engaged with today’s political, social and human conflicts. She has lived worldwide, spending long periods in the Middle East, specially in Syria, Turkey, Iran and Qatar. Her first film, Unveiled Views (2010) premiered at Guadalajara International Film Festival and was awarded best documentary at REC and at Som Cinema. Her first feature, Game Over (2015), a Spanish-German coproduction, premiered at Karlovy Vary 2015, and won the prestigious Gaudì Award for best documentary in Catalunya. Commander Arian (2018) is her second feature.



Director: Alba Sotorra

Producer: Stefano Strocchi

Executive Producer: Marta Figueira, Felix Kriegsheim

Editor: Jesper Osmund

Writers: Alba Sotorra, Stefano Strocchi, Jesper Osmund