Portrait of a Survivor

Leah Warshawki featured in CityArts:Big Sonia, the latest documentary by Leah Warshawski, follows in the socially aware steps of Finding Hillywood, her award-winning 2013 history of the Rwandan film industry. But the Seattle-based filmmaker’s follow-up takes a personal turn: Warshawski’s subject in this absorbing, moving feature is her paternal grandmother, Sonia, a pint-sized, energetic 90-year-old businesswoman whose beloved tailoring shop faces eviction from its location in a Kansas City mall. Stylish and irascible, Sonia’s also burdened with a harrowing past: As a child she survived the Holocaust while her friends and family perished in the wake of the Nazi atrocities. Big Sonia follows Sonia as she exorcizes those demons and opens the eyes of everyone from high school students to local prison inmates by relating her story to the world.”