Sonita is the intimate and joyful story of a 17-year-old Afghan girl living in Iran who daringly resists being sold as a child bride by her family. Her defiance comes in the form of an underground rap video that is as fresh and exuberant as Sonita herself. Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami poignantly shifts from observer to participant, altering expectations and revealing the intimate connections a new generation of women directors are making with their subjects.
Winner of both the Sundance World Cinema Jury Prize: Documentary and Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary.
Director’s Statement: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Making Sonita was a journey into the depths of society to understand poverty, immigration, war, identity, sexism, tradition and human values versus filmmaking conventions. Sonita Alizadeh is a force to be reckoned with. While growing up as a refugee in Iran, Sonita met me, and over three years, I documented her remarkable story, which became this film. Starting with her impoverished childhood on the streets of Tehran, where she finds her voice through the power and beauty of rap, her life takes an unexpected and near-tragic turn when she is almost sold into marriage as a child bride. The film then journeys with Sonita as she uses her music to bravely escape that fate and forge a new path to fulfill her dreams.
TRIBUTE TO WOMEN MAKE MOVIES
WITH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEBRA ZIMMERMAN
AIFF16 celebrates Women Make Movies (WMM), a non-profit organization that supports women filmmakers. Founded more than 30 years ago to address the under-representation and misrepresentation of women in media, WMM’s mission continues unabated today. Debra Zimmerman has been the executive director of WMM since 1983, and during her tenure the organization has grown into the largest distributor of films by and about women in the world. Debra will present this remarkable new documentary, and moderate the Filmmaker TalkBack: Women Make Indie Movies.