Meet Sonita, a pretty 14-year-old undocumented Afghan refugee. She lives in a cramped refugee center in Tehran, Iran, with her sister and niece. Sonita attends school in this center and dreams of becoming a world-famous rapper. The subject of her songs is the chauvinistic and oppressive treatment of women by men.
It is not easy being a woman in a country where traditionalist Islam serves as a powerful inhibitor of free expression and cultural critiques like those found in rap music. Girls, for example, are not allowed to sing solo. Dark clouds gather on the horizon as Sonita keeps refining her craft. Her conservative mother arrives from Afghanistan with news that she wants her daughter to return home so she can be sold as a bride. The family plans to use the money gained from her marriage to purchase a wife for her brother.
Documentary film director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami vividly captures the confidence, radiance, and perseverance of Sonita in her three-year quest for freedom. A surprise intervention into this talented young girl's life opens the doors into a more dramatic and exciting one than she had imagined on her own. In a country where female friendship serves as a life-giving medicine, this film stands out as a bold ode to the important role of creativity.
Sonita was the winner of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for World Cinema Documentary.