Imad's Childhood

Includes Q&A

No Longer Available

Film Info
Country Listing:Sweden
Premiere Status:International Premiere
Festival Info
Festival Year:2021
Accessibility:Full Subtitles
Program Category:World Showcase
Film Subjects:Addiction & Mental Health
Children & Youth
Families & Family Stories
Middle Eastern Cultures & Issues
War & Conflict
Cast/Crew Info
Director(s):Zahavi Sanjavi
Producer(s):Zahavi Sanjavi
Editor(s):Eva Hillström
Writer(s):Zahavi Sanjavi
Cinematography:Heshmatolla Narenji
Sound:Alexander Vaicahovsky


A five-year-old Yazidi boy is released after nearly three years in ISIS captivity. Profoundly disturbed, brainwashed and weaponized by the abuse he endured, he displays violent hatred towards the world around him, and particular revulsion for his mother, who was held hostage alongside him. Imad considers himself to be an ISIS fighter and lashes out against children and adults alike in this intense horror film about a child possessed by terror. As menacing as his behaviour is, it is a mere imitation of the humiliation and brutality he was moulded by. He did exactly as he was told by ISIS in order to survive, and now, surrounded by other survivors, the love of his family and help from a therapist, will he thrive? Imad's Childhood offers a sensitive perspective on the inhumane developmental and existential effects of war, and how far neuroplasticity and behavioural therapy can go towards building resilience and restoring trust in both a mother and child. Angie Driscoll

World Showcase program sponsored by
CBC Gem logo

Additional Information

Stream documentary premieres, pre-recorded Q&As, live events and more at Hot Docs Festival, nationwide April 29 to May 9.

Single tickets: $13 ($11.50 for Hot Docs Members) 

Seeing lots of films? Save with an Unlimited Festival Pass, 5-Pack or 12-Pack or become a Hot Docs member.

All films are geo-blocked to Canada. From the moment you start streaming, you have 48 hours to watch your film. Questions? Try our FAQs

Hot Docs employs visible watermarking on all films streaming in the Festival to ensure the highest level of security. Under Canada’s Copyright Act, unauthorized copying or distribution of copyrighted material is illegal.

Stream Docs for Free on CBC Gem