The Guardian

Nominated for Best Feature Documentary

Directed by Martina Priessner

88' • Germany • 2020

Language: Kurdish, Turkish

For 18 years, the Syrian Orthodox nun Dayrayto lives on the grounds of a church in Zaz, a dilapidated and abandoned Assyrian village in southeastern Turkey. Together with the monk Abuna she cared for the church for fourteen years. Ever since the monk died four years ago Dayrayto lives alone with her two dogs, a cow, chicken, and three cats. She is vulnerable to multiple threats. Her presence in the region is a thorn in the side of many local actors. There has always been hostili- ties from the Muslim side and little support from her own community. Lately, the situation is getting worse and Dayrayto fears for her dog’s life, which she believes has been deliberately poisoned. The camera follows Dayrayto through her everyday life and observes her struggle for survival, her worries and hardships as fear and loneliness are her constant companions. An yet, Dayrayto is a courageous and fearless woman - she promised Abuna to never leave this holy place and to protect the church, no matter what.