Sound of Torture

A film by Keren Shayo

Israel | 2013 | 58 minutes | Color | DVD | Hebrew, Tigrinya, Arabic | Subtitled | Order No. 141132


Since 2006 when Europe closed its borders, human trafficking has burgeoned in Egypt’s Sinai Desert, where Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees heading north to Israel are kidnapped, held hostage, and tortured by Bedouin smugglers demanding exorbitant ransoms for their freedom. Fleeing an oppressive military dictatorship at home, with a “shoot-to-kill” policy at the border and where only pregnant women are exempted from service, over 300,000 Eritreans have fled their homeland in North Africa. Many of these men, women and children die in Sinai’s torture camps.

This powerful documentary intimately follows Swedish-Eritrean journalist Meron Estefanos and her efforts to aid the hostages and their families. From Stockholm she runs a popular online radio show, fielding calls for help from Eritrean victims and their relatives. Her activism takes her to Israel and Egypt’s Sinai Desert to seek the release of a badly abused young woman held captive with her baby and to search for another who disappeared along the Egyptian-Israeli border after her ransom had been paid. Both eloquent and harrowing, SOUND OF TORTURE spotlights one of today’s most underreported human rights violations and the one woman who is making it her mission to create change.


"Given the intensity of the material, Shayo is notably unmanipulative, letting events and her protagonist speak for themselves."

Hollywood Reporter

"An absolute eye opener. This film is an amazing piece of work about a totally ignored problem in the world of today. Extremely powerful and breathtaking...A heroic portrait of a remarkable and brave young woman who...shows that the courage and engagement of one person alone can change the world."

Prix Europa Jury

"A harrowing yet inspiring documentary that reveals the importance of independent media in the struggle against human rights abuses."

Int’l Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights, Geneva

"The film presents harrowing testimony about the current situation of African refugees, a story the media so far has neglected to tell."

One World Int’l Human Rights Festival, Prague

“A haunting new documentary…The power of SOUND OF TORTURE stems from the disembodied-but-human voices it features of asylum seekers brutalized in camps in Sinai.”


“A film which is brave, urgent, deeply moving, illuminating an underreported tragedy through the perspective of an accidental activist."

Docaviv Film Festival Jury


  • Film Festival and Int’l Forum on Human Rights Geneva, Special Mention Award
  • Ophir Award, Best Short Doc
  • Mexico International Film Festival, Silver Palm Award
  • DocAviv Film Festival, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa Award for Debut Film
  • Movies that Matter Film Festival, Audience Award
  • Prix Europa Award for Best Intercultural Program
  • Israeli Academy Award Winner
  • International Documentary Festival, Amsterdam
  • One World Prague
  • Goteborg Int’l Film Festival


Keren Shayo

Keren Shayo is an independent filmmaker residing in Tel Aviv, Israel. She graduated from the cinema department in 'Tel – Hai' College in 2004 and since then has been focusing on social and political issues in her films. She co-founded the nonprofit organization – 'ActiveVision' that aimed to bring the vision of migrants and refugees as a subject in the documentary act. Her short films 'House Arrest' and 'Ya shdad' have been screened at festivals around the world and won awards. She was the director of photography of various documentaries, among them the award-winning films 'Maria en Tierra de Nadie' and 'Refugees'. In 2013 her film 'Sound of Torture' was premiered at IDFA and was sold to 8 TV channels so far. (5/14)


Shopping Cart