A documentary about the emancipation movement of yemeni women, living under the Al-Houthi regime of terror since 2015.

nominated for the 58th Grimme Award 2022
Information & Culture

Yemen. In the middle of a reignited war in the capital Sanaa. The area is under control of the Al-Huthi terror militia. Kidnappings, incarceration and torture of male family members happen on a daily basis. The film follows an underground organisation of mothers and wives, who have been protesting on the streets for the release of their relatives since 2016. The women of the abductees take their protests out onto the streets often, placing themselves in extreme danger. They organise sit-downs, take part in negotiation for prisoner exchanges with the rebels and create awareness for their cause In front of international Organisations. Women in Yemen have taken on new responsibilities, they have become the driving force in a society worn out by war. Without having to give up their traditions and way of life, they have become the stronger sex. With rising tensions and a war which does not want to end, the Al-Huthi regime‘s methods has unexpectedly given these women a way out of patriarchal dominance. “Mothers of Abductees” not only gives us a glimpse into life in present day Saana and insight into the effects of the war on the population, but also a time of change for the women of Yemen.

Look Inside


Yemen, Germany
, Turkey, Jordan
September 2021

The persons and events depicted in this documentary are real. Names and voices of some of the women involved have been altered for their protection.


Geographical circumstances lead to An-Nisa being told in different visual languages. Two GoPros and a Nikon were smuggled into Yemen so that the women could tell their story as they lived it. Shaky, close up and authentic. Interviews were carried out using skype.
The footage shot of those living in exile, far away from war stand in contrast: calm and accompanied by on location interviews.
News footage from German and international broadcasters complete the film in order to give the viewer a better view of what is happening in present day Yemen.
The film makers voice accompanies the viewer, giving them a timeline for what they are seeing and insight into her own reasons for making this film.

Written & Directed
Sabrina Proske
Kenneth Macdonald
, Christopher Schlierf
Film Editor
Alexander Menkö, Ebrahim AlFadhala
Original Sound
Claudio Demel
Sound Design
Oliver Gründel
Sound Mix
Alexander Rubin
Original Score
Mathias Rehfeldt
Ebrahim AlFadhala
Dramaturgy Consultant
Gabi Kröber
Voice Safa (arabic)
Salwa Almujahed
Voice Overs (german)
Safa > Tine Kiefel, Mariam > Tanja Geke, Amat > Brigitte Carlsen, Salwa > Neni Gotzmann, Taghreed > Chantal Busse, Jusef > Sebastian Müller, Khalil > Patrick Giese
Voice Recording
Alexander Rubin Filmton & Ton Postproduktion, Michael Wendling Carpe Diem Studios GmbH
Salwa Almujahed
, Zaid Al-Schalif , Ayah Shiref , Majid Alawadi , Bassam Al-Hussien , Roy El Hakim, Kenneth Macdonald
Production Manager
Thomas Lorenz (SWR)
Commissioning Editor
Marcus Vetter (SWR)
Production Accountant:
Franziska Thiel
Production Assistant
Ines Königsbauer
Production Manager
Neni Gotzmann
Cine Post Production Ludwigsburg (Robert Glöckner, Manuel Georg)
Executive Producer Michel Morales (AVIV Pictures GmbH), Hartmut Schwenk (Schwenk Film GmbH)
Marcus Vetter (SWR)
Special thanks to:
Mohammed Almujahed, Przemek Abraham, Mohammed Baza, Osama Alsalhi, Abdulrahman Batis, Adel Alhasani, Sumaya Assur, Mohammed Al-Khameri, Khaled Alafeef, Esther Saoub, Lena Leonhardt, Thomas Schadt, Thorsten Schütte

Sabrina Proske


Sabrina was born in 1986, in Munich. She has been a freelance Writer and Documentary Filmmaker since 2018. She studied Filmproduction at the Film Academy Ludwigsburg. Between 2014 and 2018 she worked for various production companies and agencies as (creative) producer. 

Her latest Documentary as a producer “DIL LEYLA” was nominated for the Grimme-Award and has received numerous Awards.
In 2017 Sabrina participated in the GO EAST TALENT LAB for upcoming filmmakers and 2018 earned a scholarship from the Robert-Bosch Foundation for projects from the Arabic Region. 

“Mothers of Abductees” is her debut as a director. 


Four years ago, I saw a video that shocked me: a school bus full of elementary school students became the target of a bomb attack. For many of these children, the ride to school turned out to be fatal, and most of them ended up seriously injured in hospital. Where exactly did this happen? And for which war were these children used? It was one of many airstrikes that have been raining down on the people of northern Yemen since 2015. Until then, I had no idea where Yemen was, let alone exactly what the conflict on the Arabian Peninsula was about. So I started to do some research. And between the news about bombs and war, I came across rebels and political kidnappings. One click further, I found a picture of a group of women. Lined up with large signs on which they had formulated their message in Arabic characters: „Release our men!” I was captivated by them from then on, and when they actually responded to my request immediately via Facebook, our project was born. 

In the past 24 months, I have been able to meet women who have impressed me far beyond my film and who have opened up many new perspectives in my life. I am incredibly grateful that I followed my curiosity and was allowed to make this film. I hope that with my contribution I can bring the German viewer a little bit closer to the conflict in Yemen and the courageous women from Sanaa.

The Mothers of Abductees
is an AVIV Pictures GmbH and Schwenk Film GmbH Production in Co-Production with Südwestrundfunk (SWR), funded by MFG Filmförderung Baden-Württemberg and Brot für die Welt.

Made within the framework of the Young Documentary Film. 

Financed by:

Contact and Licences:
AVIV Pictures GmbH
Michel Morales
+49 172 630 95 50

Würzburgerstrasse 30 | 97209 Veitshöchheim | Germany