Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami

Germany, Switzerland, Iran , 2015 / 90 min / English and Farsi OV with French and German subt. / Documentary

Sonita, the feminist Afghan rapper fighting against child marriage.

Sonita is an 18-year-old  undocumented Afghan illegal immigrant living in the poor suburbs of Tehran. She is a feisty, spirited, young woman who fights to live the way she wants, as an artist, singer, and musician despite the obstacles she has to confront in Iran and her conservative patriarchal family. In harsh contrast to her goal is the plan of her family – strongly advanced by her mother – to make her a bride and sell her to a new family for about US$ 9.000.

Sonita Alizadeh has become a social media sensation, her music and life story having made her a cause celebre of the progressive blogosphere.

Tue 07/03 09:00 Cinémathèque OV with GER & FR SUBT Scolaire

“Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami’s absorbing portrait of a refugee in Iran is endlessly surprising and calls into question the role of a film-maker.” Nigel M Smith, The Guardian, 05/03/2016

“Few documentary films ever make a measurable and immediate difference to the issues they address […]. The best many can do, in the words of Maya Angelou, is help end “the agony of bearing an untold story inside of you”. In helping us see this truth, as well as its inadequacy, Sonita goes one step further.” India Bourke, NewStatesman, 11/03/2016

  • Hera Award: Best Debut Film, Biografilm Festival 2016 (Italy)
  • Audience Award, Camden International Film Festival 2016 (USA)
  • World Cinema Award: Best International Feature – Special Mention, Documentary Edge Festival 2016 (New Zealand)
  • Best Documentary, East End Film Festival 2016 (UK)
  • Centre for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2016 (UK) Audience Award: Schweppes IndieMusic Award, IndieLisboa International Independent Film Festival 2016 (Portugal)
  • Millennium Award – Special Mention, Millenium Docs Against Gravity 2016 (Poland)
  • Audience Award: World Cinema, Montclair Film Festival 2016 (USA)
  • Special Jury Prize: Junior Jury, Montclair Film Festival 2016 (USA)
  • SOS-Kinderdörfer Award, Munich International Documentary Festival 2016 (Germany)
  • Audience Award: Best in World Cinema, Sarasota Film Festival 2016 (USA)
  • Sheffield Youth Jury Award, Sheffield International Documentary Festival 2016 (UK)
  • World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, Sundance Film Festival 2016 (USA)
  • Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary, Sundance Film Festival 2016 (USA)
  • IDFA Audience Award, Amsterdam, International Documentary Film Festival, 2015 (Netherlands)
Cast & Credits
Sonita Alizadeh
Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Behrouz Badrouj, Ali Mohammad Ghasemi, Mohammad Haddadi, Arastoo Givi, Torben Bernard, Parviz Arefi, Ala Mohseni
Guillaume Wuhrmann
Moritz Denis, chansons par Sonita Alizadeh, Sepandarmaz Elahi Shirazi
TAG/TRAUM Filmproduktion
Intermezzo Film, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, NDR, RTS RadioTélévision Suisse, SRG SSR, DR, Arte

Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami studied filmmaking and animation at the Tehran Art University. Her research on animated documentaries lead to the publication of her book “Animated Documentary, a New Way to Express”. She has made 6 documentaries and won more than 20 international awards. Her graduate film “Cyanosis” (2007), a short animated documentary about a street painter and “Going up the Stairs” (2011), another portrait of an illiterate Iranian woman painter, had a wide international exposure. Her latest “Sonita” (2015) was selected at the Sundance World Documentary Competition and was shown at more than forty film festivals around the world, including the Luxembourg City Film Festival in 2016.

  • 2015, Sonita (documentary)
  • 2011, Going Up The Stairs (short, documentary)
  • 2010, A Loud Solitude (short, documentary)
  • 2010, Born 20 Minutes Late (short, documentary)
  • 2007, Cyanosis (short, documentary)
  • 2000, Pigeon Fanciers (documentary)