BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez Gets Its Philly Premiere at BlackStar Film Festival

Sonia Sanchez | Photo from BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez Facebook

Sonia Sanchez | Photo from BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez Facebook

Three local filmmakers will debut their newest documentary, BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, at the fourth-annual BlackStar Film Festival. Janet Goldwater, Barbara Attie and Sabrina Schmidt -Gordon teamed up nearly five years ago to begin the project on renown wordsmith—and Philly’s first Poet Laureate—Sonia Sanchez. Sanchez, who is now 80 years, has been writing and reciting poems for nearly 50 years.

“She’s a very dynamic character and she just kept giving us more content to use,” says Goldwater, when asked why it took five years to finish the film. Goldwater and Attie teamed up in the early 1990s for their first documentary, Motherless, and have since made eight feature-length broadcast films. They first collaborated with filmmaker Schmidt Gordon in 2009 on Mrs. Goundo’s Daughter, a nitty-gritty documentary about the horrors of female genital mutilation.

After the success of the documentary, the trio decided to work together again on BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez. The film premiered at Durham, North Carolina’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in April 2015 and was praised by the audience, who Goldwater says “was in tears and there was so much love and excitement in the room. We give a lot of that credit to Sanchez, because she’s such an inspiring artist.”

The documentary remembers Sanchez as a pioneer of the 1960s Black Arts Movement, when she “raised her voice in the name of black culture, civil rights, women’s liberation, and peace as a poet, playwright, teacher, activist and early champion of the spoken word.” She went on to publish 17 books of poetry and has won numerous awards—including the prestigious American Book Award. The documentary features appearances by Questlove, Talib Kweli, Ursula Rucker, Ruby Dee, Mos Def and more.

Sanchez has lived in Philadelphia since 1976, so Goldwater hopes her hometown crowd will be even more affected by the film. “We know Philadelphians know who she is, but we think they’ll be surprised by the depth of her accomplishments when they watch it.”

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez screens as part of the BlackStar Film Festival on Saturday, August 1 at 6pm at International House. The festival runs July 30th to August 2nd with films coming from more than four continents. Other notable flicks include Muata’Ali Muhammad’s critically acclaimed Life Essentials with Ruby DeeKiara Jones’s Christmas Wedding Baby and dream Hampton’s Treasure: From Tragedy to Transjustice, Mapping a Detroit Story.

To view a schedule of film screenings, participating artists and more information on the festival, visit the site here.