February 23, 2017


NYU Washington, DC and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage hosted a screening of Sonita as part of the 2017 Mother Tongue Film Festival.

The Mother Tongue Film Festival, a collaborative Smithsonian annual event, initiated by the Recovering Voices Program of the National Museum of Natural History, celebrates the United Nations International Mother Languages Day by showcasing recently produced feature and short-length films about the cultural richness of Indigenous and endangered languages.



Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami

Gerd Haag

Rune Schweitzer



Sonita is an 18-year-old undocumented Afghan immigrant living in the periphery of Tehran. She is a feisty, spirited, young woman who fights to live the way she wants, as an artist, singer, and musician in spite of all her obstacles she confronts 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.


90 min. - Iran / Germany / Switzerland, 2015

Meet the Panel

Mazi Mutafa

Mazi Mutafa 

Executive Director of Words Beats & Life (WBL), a hip-hop nonprofit founded in January of 2002 in Washington D.C. 

William Youmans

William Youmans 

Assistant Professor at the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University