Sonita tells the inspiring story of Sonita Alizadeh, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran. She thinks of Michael Jackson and Rihanna as her spiritual parents and dreams of becoming a big-name rapper. So far Alizadeh’s only fans are the other teenage girls in a Tehran shelter, but her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride worth $9,000. Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami poignantly shifts from observer to participant, altering expectations as Sonita’s story unfolds. Winner of two awards at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Sonita is an unforgettable coming-of-age tale that positions a free-spirited young woman at odds with the restrictions of a traditional society. An intimate portrait of creativity and womanhood, Sonita highlights the rarely seen intricacies and shifting contrasts of Iranian society through the lens of an artist who is defining the next generation.

► Read this fantastic essay about Sonita.

“Triumphant . . . endlessly surprising.” (5 STARS)  The Guardian
• “Inspiring . . . a  certified crowdpleaser.” —The Hollywood Reporter
• “Sonita is engaging, articulate, intelligent, and wholly admirable in her audacious campaigning against forced marriage in particular and misogynistic Islam in general.”  —The Hollywood Reporter
• “Everyone falls in love with Sonita in this film.” —Screen Daily
• “Her plight is sadly common, but Sonita herself—a fiery and opportunistic fighter wrapped in a head scarf—is anything but.” —Willamett Week
• “Maghami is such a skilled, aware filmmaker that her action, beyond its obvious humanitarian value, falls into a glorious tradition of meta-filmmaking in Iranian cinema—it immediately conjured Abbas Kiarostami’s Close-Up.” —DC Metro Theater Arts

Sundance Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize / World Documentary and Audience Award
• IDFA / Audience Award and DOC U Award
• Full Frame Documentary Film Festival / Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award
• Sarasota Film Festival ? Best in World Cinema Audience Award
• True/False Film Festival / True Life Fund Award
• Sheffield Doc/Fest / Youth Jury Award
• One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival / AVAST Foundation Audience Award
• Montclair Film Festival / Audience Award, MFF Junior Jury Special Jury Prize for Social Justice
• Mammoth Lakes Film Festival / Jury Award, Best Feature Documentary

Watch on YouTube

Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
in Dari, English, and Farsi with English subtitles
Running Time
90 minutes