Director | Filmmaker | Photographer | Writer
© SDFilms 2019
Welcome to
Souvid.Space
Souvid Datta is an emerging writer/director, self-shooting PD, photographer and multimedia creative. This site is his portfolio space.

Born in Mumbai, 1990, Souvid grew up between India and the UK. After completing a degree at UCL (2014) in International Relations, Conflict Studies and Law he went on to freelance as a multimedia journalist and filmmaker for several years.

He has worked for clients including The Guardian, The New York Times, National Geographic, Save the Children, Vice, TIME and many more, travelling to over 50 countries covering issues of migration, conflict, the environment and women's rights. His documentary work specialises in character-led, intimate stories that investigate under-reported contemporary issues.

Since 2015, his practice has widened to incorporate narrative elements - developing original TV series, branded content and award-winning, cinematic shorts.

Today, as the Creative Director at SDFilms he works for a range of clients spanning the documentary, commercial, entertainment and music industries.

Whether through cinema, interactive exhibitions, music videos or multimedia investigations, Souvid aims to continue making meaningful visual stories that empower subjects, inform viewers and provoke constructive action.
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in the shadow of isis
THE WAR ON MOSUL AND ITS TOLL ON IRAQI KURDISTAN
Iraqs Kurds are autonomous in all but name.

In fact, Kurdistan is part of Iraq, yet the Kurds live as if within their own independent state, with their own Ministers, Parliament, national anthem, banners and 175,000-strong military, the Peshmerga - "those who face death".

Most Kurds freely reveal they would prefer to have nothing to do with Baghdad or the remainder of Iraq. Why would they, when their nation can thrive alone?

In 2015, territorial gains by ISIS, however, came hand-in-hand with the drop in oil prices and new tensions with Baghdad, negatively affecting the Kurdish economy. In Erbil today, there are far more cranes than minarets; there are lavish inns, shopping centres and a private complex known as Dream City where certain lofts fetch over $1M. Yet, half-built tower blocks crowd the horizon, as engineers and hot cash fled the nation after ISIS' intrusion.
Iraqi Kurdistan remains squeezed between a volatile region - a civil-war-torn Syria to the West, and ISIS' self-style Iraqi capital in Mosul and stronghold over the Western borderlands. It has been this way since 1991 when Kurdistan accomplished successful self-rule, whilst the rest of Iraq fell to pieces around it burning in war.

Yet as of 2015, the alignment of power changed in northern Iraq more drastically, with Kurdish forces currently controlling Kirkuk and Sinjar, and various hardline factions vying for autonomy over vast territories managed until recently by Iraq. This new status places the Kurds in a dilemma : the world needs the Kurds to battle ISIS, yet their principle interest remains in establishing an independent and secure Kurdistan.

With ISIS looming close, the many groups of warring Kurds have come to stand as one, sharing the dream of an autonomous state, while life in urban communities - in Erbil, Dohuk and Sinjar- limps on under the ever-present shadow of war.
13 NIGHTS IN THE SHADOW OF ISIS
(Experimental Travelogue)
After months, the military campaign to retake Mosul, Iraq's second-biggest city, is still stalled in an overwhelming battle. Seeking to escape the action, more civilians than ever are taking the risk of evacuation, hoping to discover help beyond the reach of ISIS.

One story lies in the numbers: over 400,000people have been since the fight displaced since the fight for Mosul started -50% under-age, according to the UN. In any case, the mass migration has only just begun. The million individuals still in Mosul, bunched on the west of theTigris River, where the battling is proving most troublesome, are set to join3.3 million Iraqis — for the most part Sunnis — uprooted across the nation.Most are yet unable to return their urban homes - unsafe though now liberated -so they have had to take shelter, and build what lives they can within under-resourced, squalid aid camps.  

With the fighting becoming ever more brutal and drawn out, humanitarian workers are concerned that Iraqi forces will adopt more aggressive tactics, putting civilians at greater risk. Some even fear that the increasing number of refugees, and their vulnerability, could bring another wave of sectarian revenge in a country rife with it.

Today, as the fighting drags on, and each day more families trickle out from the battleground, this series looks at the consequences of this region’s newest war and the toll it takes on young soldiers, civilians and cities.
Peshmerga soldiers stand watch over the Niveneh plains captured from ISIS control earlier in the day.
A faded ISIS flag is seen on the outskirts of the town of Sinjar. U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters reclaimed the town in Nov. 2015, but destruction and ongoing fighting in the area has prevent most residents from returning. It remains one of the most hotly contested front line areas along the Iraq's border with Syria.
Peshmerga soldiers pose to take photos with a killed ISIS child soldier hours of intense fighting between the Kurdish Peshmerga and ISIS combatants along the Khazer river.
Remnants of a normal, middle-class Iraqi lifestyle lie in tatters within a destroyed home near the Gwer front line that served as a heated battleground between ISIS and Peshmerga forces during a six hour offensive to liberate the besieged town.
Peshmerga soldiers along with Iraqi Asayish security forces interrogate suspected ISIS militants following the liberation of a village along the Khazer front line, east of Mosul. Often ISIS fighters are instructed to remain behind in recaptured cities, surrendering to Peshmerga forces while in fact disguising their objectives as suicide terrorists.
Kurdish Yezidi women from the 'Sun Force Battalion' train in the town of Snuny, near ISIS front lines by the Syrian border. Only two years ago, many of these women were abducted by ISIS and kept as wives and sex-slaves during the systematic massacre that ISIS perpetrated against Yezidi people. Now, having escaped, they enlisted within the Peshmerga's growing minority of female forces, preparing to fight ISIS in the forthcoming battle for Mosul.
Farang, 24, lies exhausted after a brutal day of fighting and heavy losses within in his Peshmerga bunker on the front lines against ISIS near Khazer.
Captain Xate Shingali presides over the  young Kurdish Yezidi women who form her 'Sun Force Battalion' in the town of Snuny, near ISIS front lines by the Syrian border. Only two years ago, many of these women were abducted by ISIS and kept as wives and sex-slaves during the systematic massacre ISIS perpetrated against Yezidi people. Now, having escaped, they have enlisted as the Peshmerga's growing minority of female forces, eager to fight on the front lines against ISIS.
Karmend, 32, a Peshmerga soldier poses for a portrait after a six hour operation to liberate a village near Khazer from ISIS.
Buildings lay in ruins in the Iraqi town of Sinjar. Backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, Kurdish forces retook the town from ISIS in November 2015. It still remains a site of continued fighting, with skirmishes breaking out by the outskirts, and daily ISIS shelling occurring throughout the city.
A Kurdish Yezidi soldier, 25, from the 'Sun Force Battalion' in the town of Snuny, near ISIS front lines by the Syrian border. Only two years ago, many of the women in this battalion were abducted by ISIS and kept as wives and sex-slaves during the systematic massacre ISIS perpetrated against Yezidi people. Now, having escaped, they have enlisted as the Peshmerga's growing minority of female forces, eager to fight on the front lines against ISIS.
The Hussein family of a fallen Peshmerga soldier - killed by a suicide car bomb while fighting ISIS near Makhmour - mourn at his grave in a cemetery within the still contested area of Hawija that faces ongoing shelling and skirmishes.
Families flee from villages surrounding the de-facto ISIS capital of Mosul in Iraq. Their homes, bombed out by coalition airstrikes and months of frontline fire lie in ruins. They escaped through the dark of night, with only their children and precious essentials - a few clothes, water, and photographs. Set to join the more than 3.3 million internally displaced people that Iraq is struggling to support, the peace of their previous rural lives has vanished in an instant, and their fate stands unknown.
An overview of one IDP camp - made specially for women and families with younger children, inside the sprawling Debaga facility.
A young Iraqi boy waits with his family inside a Peshmerga base near Erbil. After having walked through the dark of night to avoid siting by ISIS, he will now be sent the overcrowded to Debaga IDP camp.
In a raid near Makhmour, close to the front line, Iraqi police detain and interrogate suspected ISIS supporters who claimed to be IDPs. The area - north of Kirkuk - which is composed of both Kurds and ethnic Arabs, has been controlled by Kurdish forces since 2014. When the fractured Iraqi Army fled, the Kurdish Peshmerga units moved in to defend the city.
A family from ISIS-held Mosul, poses at a Peshmerga base to which they recently escaped on the front lines near Khazer. All adult male members of the family were killed in public executions by ISIS within Mosul for attempting to escape.
The queue for daily food rations winds on for hours within the under-resourced and overcrowded Debaga refugee camp. Set to join the more than 3.3 million internally displaced people that Iraq is struggling to support, the peace of most people's previous rural lives has vanished in an instant, and their fate stands unknown.
Captain Xate Shingali presides over the  young Kurdish Yezidi women who form her 'Sun Force Battalion' in the town of Snuny, near ISIS front lines by the Syrian border. Only two years ago, many of these women were abducted by ISIS and kept as wives and sex-slaves during the systematic massacre ISIS perpetrated against Yezidi people. Now, having escaped, they have enlisted as the Peshmerga's growing minority of female forces, eager to fight on the front lines against ISIS.
Children play pool inside a make-shift cafe within the Kawergosk camp for Syrian refugees, west of Erbil. Nearly 200,000 Syrian refugees are now in the country.
Amidst the daily tensions of life inside one of Kurdistan's largest refugee camps, a group of internally displaced Iraqi blow off some steam playing volleryball in the summer afternoon sun. The overcrowded and underresourced Debaga camp, West of Erbil, is now home to over 38,000 people while equipped to house only 28,000.
On balmy summer evenings, families still gather by the Massif Salahaddin hills near Primam, north of Erbil, to share in roadside picnics. Despite Iraq's fledgling economy and the constant shadow of war against ISIS - with front lines less than an hour's drive away - people continue to exhibit extraordinary resilience and maintain a life full of trade and community.
A new memorial for fallen Peshmerga soldiers in the fight against ISIS near Kirkuk.
Beneath Erbil's main bazaar, Bakhtiar Aziz, runs his family’s gun shop. Before the fighting with ISIS, he and his son (centre) mainly fixed hunting guns. Now he repairs weapons for peshmerga fighters for free.
Loran, 26, lies in Erbil's emergency hospital after sustaining severe burns and injuries on the front lines against ISIS. During a routine sweep operation after liberating a village near Khazer, he stumbled onto an improvised explosive device. ISIS is notorious for booby trapping the settlements they leave behind.
Inside one of the few night clubs left open within Erbil. Frequented by ex-pats and Erbil's richer elites it speaks of a time recently gone by, where oil profits and construction influxes had made for a booming local economy - now crippled by the uncertainty and costs of war against ISIS.
An ISIS militant. After hours of intense fighting between the Kurdish Peshmerga and ISIS combatants along the Khazer river, the village lies littered with corpses and rubble.
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