Sunday Showcase: Sonita

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Sunday Showcase

Directed by Rakhsareh Ghaem Maghami

Sunday, March 20, 12:30 pm CINEMA+


“Inspiring . . . a certified crowd-pleaser.”—Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

Winner of two Sundance Film Festival awards, the compelling documentary Sonita tells the inspiring story of Sonita Alizadeh, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran, who 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.

Her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride she’s worth $9,000. Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami (Going Up the Stairs) poignantly shifts from observer to participant altering expectations, as Sonita’s story unfolds in this personal and joyful portrait. An intimate portrait of creativity and womanhood, Sonita highlights the rarely seen intricacies and shifting contrasts of Afghan society through the lens of an artist who is defining the next generation and fighting against the practice of child marriage. 2015, Iran/Germany/Switzerland, DCP, in English and Farsi with English subtitles, 91 minutes. Recommended for 12 +.

Sonita was honored with the Muhammad Ali Core Principle Award for Conviction by the Muhammad Ali Center in 2021. She will be the keynote presenter at WE Day Kentucky on April 20 at Paristown Hall.

Co-presented with the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana ( the Muhammad Ali Center (

CINEMA+ a post-screening discussion with Sonita Alizadeh via Zoom.