SONITA WINS TWO WORLD DOCUMENTARY AWARDS AT 2016 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
New York, NY -- SONITA directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, was the big documentary winner at Sundance, winning both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.
Sonita, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran, thinks of Michael Jackson and Rihanna as her spiritual parents and dreams of becoming a big-name rapper. For the time being, her only fans are the other teenage girls in a Tehran shelter. And her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride she's worth $9,000. Director Maghami poignantly shifts from observer to participant altering expectations, as Sonita's story unfolds in an intimate and joyful portrait.
"Sonita's beats are as solid as stones, her rhymes are fierce, and her videos are a piercing howl against the constant injustice, fear, and sexism women must endure," writes the Sundance Jury, "SONITA highlights the rarely seen intricacies and shifting contrasts of Iranian society through the lens of an artist who is defining the next generation."
SONITA was made with the help of WMM's internationally recognized Production Assistance Program. Two other films from the program were also awarded in the US Documentary Competition: WEINER by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg won the Grand Jury Prize and TRAPPED by Dawn Porter won the Special Jury Award for Social Impact. WMM's Production Assistance Program assists women directors with their productions from concept through completion.
SONITA's awards continue WMM's winning streak, at last year's Sundance Film Festival, DREAMCATCHER by Kim Longinotto, a 2015 release from WMM which aired on Showtime and is now streaming on Netflix, won Best Director in the same category. And CITIZENFOUR, the 2015 Academy Award winning Best Documentary, also was produced with the assistance of WMMs Production Assistance Program.
Since our beginnings in 1972, WMM has grown from a feminist filmmakers' collective into an industry-leading nonprofit media arts organization and distributor. For over 40 years, WMM has transformed the landscape of filmmaking for women directors and producers, bringing the issues facing women around the world to screens everywhere. Now, with more than 550 films in our catalog, including Academy®, Emmy®, Peabody and Sundance nominees and award winners, WMM is the largest distributor of films by and about women in the world. Women Make Movies. By Women. About Women. For Everyone.
Women Make Movies gratefully acknowledges the support of our funders: The National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. The Andy Warhol Foundation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.