Directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Grand Jury Prize (World Cinema Documentary), 2016 Sundance Film Festival
Audience Award, 2015 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
Meet Sonita Alizadeh, a teenager from Afghanistan whose family fled to Iran to escape the Taliban. Or rather, she’ll meet you. Like any other young person, Sonita dreams of being famous, buying her family expensive gifts, and having Rihanna as her mom. Unfortunately, her actual mother, following Afghan tradition, is eager to sell Sonita into marriage to receive the money she needs to buy a wife for her son. But Sonita has a different plan for her future: to enact social justice by becoming a badass rapper in a country where it is illegal for women to sing in public.
Sonita’s songs capture her fiery spirit, pleading for change and crying out for empathy for herself and girls like her all over the world. But with cultural traditions ingrained so deeply within her mother, Sonita’s journey will require a bit of creativity and luck, as well as questions about whether documentarian Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami herself should directly get involved to help. Sonita’s story is the epitome of hip-hop: an artist using the power of her words to write herself out of her circumstances. She’s past patiently waiting; she’s passionately smashing every expectation. Her name is Sonita Alizadeh. There are a million things she hasn’t done yet, but just you wait. –James Paguyo
This screening is free for Pac Arts members