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Iran | 2015 | 90 minutes | Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami

Winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Sonita is the tale of a feisty teenage refugee and aspiring rapper from Afghanistan who, after her mother announces an arranged marriage, upends the foundations of documentary filmmaking with a bold request to her filmmaker: Will you buy me?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

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When the stateless Sonita, a teenage refugee from Afghanistan to Iran, is asked to create a fantasy passport, she lists her parents as Rihanna and Michael Jackson. Sonita is a musician, an aspiring rapper, whose songs chronicle her frustration with the restrictions of her society. These restrictions take on a new reality one day when her mother arrives at the shelter where Sonita is living and announces that the girl must return to Afghanistan; her marriage has been arranged. The transaction will net the family $9,000, exactly the amount her brother needs to purchase his own bride. Confronted with this imminent end to her dreams, Sonita turns to the woman filming her, director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, and asks "Would you buy me? I am for sale anyway."  This question and its answer take the film—and Sonita's life—in a whole new direction. A certified crowd-pleaser that has won the audience-choice award at every festival it's played so far (as well as Sundance's Grand Jury Prize—World Documentary), Sonita is a powerful testament to the potential for change that exists in even the most hopeless circumstances.

Director Biography
Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami is an Iranian-born filmmaker and scholar who studied filmmaking and animation at Tehran Art University. Her research on animated documentaries led to her book "Animated Documentary, a New Way to Express." She is the director of numerous award-winning documentaries, including Going Up the Stairs (2011).

Sponsored by Sinikka and Babak Parviz, Michael and Neda Nassirian, UW Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, Persian and Iranian Studies Program, AIBC, Kamiar and Afsaneh Karimi, Naini Family Foundation, Associates in Cultural Exchange, UW Iranian-American Faculty, Rumi Restaurant

  • Director: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
  • Principal Cast: Sonita Alizadeh
  • Country: Iran, Germany, Switzerland
  • Year: 2015
  • Running Time: 90 minutes
  • Producer: Gerd Haag
  • Screenplay: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
  • Cinematographers: Behrouz Badrouj, Ali Mohammad Ghasemi, Mohammad Haddadi, Arastoo Givi, Torben Bernard, Parviz Arefi
  • Editors: Rune Schweitzer
  • Music: Moritz Denis
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: IDFA 2015 (Audience Award), Sundance 2016 (World Documentary Grand Jury Prize, World Documentary Audience Award), Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2016 (Center for Documentary Studies Award), Sarasota Film Festival 2016 (Audience Award)
  • Filmography: Going Up the Stairs (Doc, 2012)
  • Language: Farsi
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Women Make Movies
  • International Sales: CAT&Docs