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The Hostage Takers


A film about the IS members known as The Beatles, brutal prison guards of many western hostages including American war correspondent James Foley. After Foley’s brutal, live-streamed beheading, Sean Langan, a war journalist and Foley’s friend, tracked down two Beatles members captured by the Kurds after IS left Raqqa. Langan recorded meetings with Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, that he used to explore how westerners became IS leaders. Kotey and Elsheikh were found guilty in Washington in April 2022 and sentenced to life. HOSTAGE TAKERS covers captivity in Syria (2013-2014) to the present. The film features firsthand accounts, interviews, archive footage, personal recordings, and dramatization, revealing brutal honesty.

Festival Participation

  • CPH:DOX - 2023
    Nominee F:ACT Award
  • CPH:DOX - 2023
    Winner F:ACT Award - Honorable Mention
  • The Hague Movies that Matter Festival - 2023
    Nominee Grand Jury Documentary Award Best Documentary
  • The Hague Movies that Matter Festival - 2023
    Nominee Camera Justitia Award

Additional Materials

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