The Human Rights Documentation Initiative

SB Productions Records, 2006-2013

Descriptive Summary

Creator SB Productions
Title SB Productions Records
Dates: 2006-2013
Abstract The SB Productions Records collection contains raw unedited documentary footage produced in northern Iraqi Kurdistan.
Accession No. 2010-02
OCLC Record No.
Extent 15 hard drives
Language English, Kurdish
Repository Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin

Administrative History

SB Productions is an independent documentary film production company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. Mary Ann Smothers Bruni together with Frances “Sissy” Farenthold (former Texas state legislator and human rights activist) and Elizabeth “BJ” Warnock Fernea (professor emerita of Middle Eastern Studies at University of Texas at Austin) founded SB Productions in November of 2005 as a vehicle to document the complexity of women’s issues generally in the Middle East and particularly in Iraq.

SB Productions’ 2009 documentary, Quest for Honor, investigated honor killings in Iraqi Kurdistan and was chosen as an Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival and was short-listed for a 2010 Academy Award nomination for Feature Length Documentary. Beginning in 2006, SB Productions traveled to Iraq several times to collect footage for a documentary. Due to political unrest in the region, Bruni and her crew, including Director of Photography Behzad Oliadonighi, co-producer Biruk Tugan, and assistant director Mohammed Saddik Barzani, could only work freely in the northern region of Iraq controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government. With the assistance of Hirau Ibrahim Ahmad, a video and film producer and the wife of the first Kurdish president of Iraq, the crew was able to move freely and continue filming. Dubbed "Zhinan," the project began as an effort to document the lives of women rebuilding Iraq. Quest for Honor would grow out of this effort. The project originally focused on collecting footage of daily life in Iraqi Kurdistan as well as interviews with women judges, politicians, physicians, and poets. While filming, the project focus turned toward the story of women’s struggles against the practice of “honor killings” in the region. The story of Quest for Honor centers on an honor killing in the town of Rania and the efforts of the Women’s Media Center of Sulaymaniyah to support the rights of women in Iraq.

In 2010 and 2011, SB Productions returned to Iraq to continue filming for a second documentary. In 2012, SB Productions also began working on a documentary set in south Texas.


  • [1] “Emerita Professor Elizabeth Warnock Fernea Dies; Noted Author Championed Women’s Issues in the Middle East,” (accessed April 30, 2013).
  • [2] Frances Tarlton Farenthold Papers, 1913-2012, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
  • [3] “Meet the DocuWeeks Filmmakers: Mary Ann Smothers Bruni—‘Quest for Honor,”, (accessed April 30, 2013)
  • [4] Quest for Honor Press Kit, SB Productions, 2009.
  • [5] “’Quest for Honor: Stop The Killings Now!’ -- A Documentary Examines Honor Killing,”, April 30, 2013.

Scope and Contents Note

This collection contains over 500 hours of unedited digital video footage, transcripts, and digital photographs collected while filming Quest for Honor and subsequent projects in Iraqi Kurdistan. The collection is currently being processed.


Access Restrictions

Contact the human rights archivist for information on accessing the SB Productions Records.

Use Restrictions

Standard copyright restrictions apply. The copyright for the materials in this collection belongs to SB Productions.

Index Terms

The is classified under the following Subject Headings in the University of Texas Libraries catalog:
Subjects (Persons)
Bruni, Mary Ann Smothers -- Archives
SB Productions -- Archives
Kurds -- Iraq -- History
Human rights -- Iraq
Kurdistan (Iraq) -- History

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: [Item name], SB Productions Collection, Human Rights Documentation Initiative, University of Texas Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin.

Box and Folder Inventory

box folder
Contact the human rights archivist for information on accessing the SB Productions Records.