Big Sonia
http://bigsonia.com/
Directed by Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday
US, 2017, 93 min, in English

In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski—great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor—runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than thirty years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to revisit her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, BIG SONIA also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all.



UPCOMING SCREENINGS 

Juneau, AK
September 9-16, 21,22 2018
Gold Town Nickelodeon

St. Louis, MO
October 5-11, 2018
Chase Park Plaza Cinemas 
 
Hudson, NY
October 18,19, 22, 25, 25, 26, 28, 2018
Time & Space Limited
 
Houston, TX
October 20, 2018
14 Pews

PAST SCREENINGS 

 

Maitland, FL
November 4-6, 2017
The 19th Annual Central Florida Jewish Film Festival

Downers Grove, IL
November 6, 2017
After Hours Film Society @ Tivoli Theatre

Bellingham, WA
October 14, 2017
Pickford Film Center

Olympia, WA
November 16, 2017
34th Annual Olympia Film Festival

New York, NY
November 17-30, 2017
Quad Cinema

Montclair, NJ
December 6-10, 2017
Montclair Film

Beverly Hills, CA
December 8-14, 2017
Laemmle Music Hall

Encino, CA
December 8-14, 2017
Laemmle Town Center

Albuquerque, NM
December 11-14, 2017
Guild Cinema

Larkspur, CA
December 12, 2017
Lark Theatre

Denver, CO
December 15-28, 2017
Denver Film Society

Boca Raton, FL
December 15-28, 2017
Living Room Theaters

Hartford, CT
December 15-21, 2017
Real Art Ways

Cleveland, OH
December 24 & 26, 2017
Cleveland Museum of Art

Baltimore, MD
December 22, 2017-January 4, 2018
Parkway Theatre

Pittsburgh, PA
January 5-11, 2018
Rowhouse Cinema

Larkspur, CA
January 5-11, 2018
Lark Theater

Milwaukee, WI
January 12-18, 2018
Times Cinema

Aspen, CO
January 12-14, 2018
Wheeler Film Society

Coos Bay, OR
January 19-20, 2018
Egyptian Theatre

Billings, MT
January 19-February 1, 2018
Art House Cinema and Pub

Santa Fe, NM
January 26-February 1, 2018
The Screen

New York, NY
February 1, 2018
Museum of Jewish Heritage

Seattle, WA
February 9-15, 2018
SIFF Film Center

Palm Springs, CA
February 24, 2018
Desert Film Society

Ventura, CA
February 25, 2018
Desert Film Society

St. Helena, CA
February 25-26, 2018
Cameo Cinema

Iowa City, IA
March 9-15, 2018
Film Scene

Vashon Island, WA
March 13-15, 2018
Vashon Theatre

Brattleboro, VT
March 9-18, 2018
Women's Film Festival

Houston, TX
March 24, 2018
14 Pews

Hopewell, NJ
March 29-April 1, 2018
Hopewell Theater

Port Townsend, WA
April 6-12, 2018
Rose Theatre

Bethlehem, PA
April 12, 2018
ArtsQuest Center

Tunkhannock, PA
April 14, 17, 21, 27, 2018
The Dietrich Theater

Winchester, CA
April 15, 2018
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Winchester, CA
April 21, 2018
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Salina, KS
April 27-May 3, 2018
 
Wilmington, DE
April 27-29, 2018
 
Columbus, OH
April 27-May 3, 2018
 *Part of Columbus Documentary Week
 
Overland Park, KS
December 1, 2017-May 17, 2018
Glenwood Arts
 
Springfield, MO
May 30, 2018
 
St. Louis, MO
June 1-3, 2018
 
Ft. Collins, CO
September 17, 2018
The Lyric

SHORT SYNOPSIS

In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski—greatgrandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor—runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than thirty years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to revisit her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, BIG SONIA also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all.

LONG SYNOPSIS

For years, Sonia Warshawski (91) has been an inspirational public speaker at schools and prisons, where her stories of surviving the Holocaust as a teenager have inspired countless people who once felt their own traumas would leave them broken forever. But when Sonia is served an eviction notice for her iconic tailor shop (in a dead mall), she's confronted with an agonizing decision: either open up a new shop, or retire. Ironically, Sonia’s shop is the last open business in an otherwise desolate Kansas City mall, but it contains enough color and liveliness to make up for the entire empty complex. For a woman who admits she stays busy “to keep the dark parts away”, facing retirement dredges up fears she’d long forgot she had, and her horrific past resurfaces. BIG SONIA explores what it means to be a survivor and how intergenerational trauma affects families and generations. Will you let your trauma define you? Or will your past make you stronger?

TRAILER

REVIEWS

 

"A tenderly rendered inspirational piece about the healing power of forging human connections..”
LA Times

“Poignant.”
New York Times

“A funny. moving tribute to a great soul."
Boston Globe

“Filmed with great respect and palpable love for its subject"
Seattle Times

“A documentary of special comfort."
RogerEbert.com

“She has fundamentally altered their perspectives on what it means to be free."
Santa Fe New Mexican

“Sonia's spirit leaps off the screen.
Pittsburgh Magazine

“An affecting portrait of one woman's lifelong struggle to come to terms with her survival."
Pittsburgh City Paper

“The kind of documentary that goes for your soul."
The Stranger

“A remarkable story of a remarkable woman.”
Reel Talker

“Not just another holocaust movie.”
Hammer to Nail

“This is a movie that can change your life.”
Cinema 365

“Engaging and thoughtful.”
The Hollywood Reporter

“ A visual reminder of time's arrow and other, more important losses..”
LA Weekly

“She is the best example we could have for keeping history alive and spreading love and goodness.”
Movie Blogger.com

“An impressive testament to love and loss.”
Butler's Cinema Scene

“It's a testament to the human spirit, showing how one can face unspeakable hate with love.”
KSHB - Kansas City

“Powerful.”
Fox 4 C

“It's brilliant.”
Film Journal International

“Do not let the trauma of the past define you, use what you have and what you know to make yourself stronger .”
Easy Reader News

“Poignant.”
The Villager

“A holocaust survivor shares her life story.”
Village Voice

“This film quietly and assuredly calls upon viewers to cherish and acknowledge those willing to speak out about that time in history. BIG SONIA is an inspiring recollection of bravery in the face of unimaginable suffering..”
Film Forward

“She is the best example we could have for keeping history alive and spreading love and goodness.”
Red Carpet Crash

“a moving, engaging documentary.”
Movie Nation

“Big Sonia is a film about history, how we carry it with us and why it matters.”
Eye For Film

“ Offers a look into how someone can experience such trepidation and come out on the other side..”
Village Shalom

“ A loving and often funny tribute to an inspirational woman who changes lives by living hers to the fullest.”
Grandma's Briefs

INTERVIEWS & MEDIA

EXTRATV

FILMMAKER MAGAZINE

HUFFINGTON POST

RIVERFRONT TIMES

WMUK - NPR

FF2MEDIA

KCUR - Kansas City

Senior Planet

DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD

The Boston Globe

The Bridge

Fandango Movie Guide

Fox4KC

STILLS