Featured Ads

‘BIG SONIA’ to make KC-area theatrical debut Dec. 1 at Glenwood Arts Theater

Sonia Warshawski

The documentary film “BIG SONIA” is scheduled for its first Kansas City-area theatrical release Dec. 1 at the Glenwood Arts Theater in Overland Park.

Tickets went on sale Tuesday and can be purchased at fineartsgroup.com/films/big-sonia-121/.

The film was produced and directed by Leah Warshawski and tells the story of her grandmother, Sonia Warshawski, who is one of the Kansas City area’s last Holocaust survivors who speaks publicly about her wartime experience. The film also tells the broader story of how Sonia’s trauma affected her family.

The film has received numerous awards. (see list at right)

Leah Warshawski and some members of her production staff screened the film on Oct. 9 for at least 500 students and staff at St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City, Missouri, she said. 

School officials had asked her to screen the film there soon after some photos were posted on Snapchat and other social media sites showing some St. Teresa’s students playing a game called Jews vs. Nazis beer pong and pouring beer into cups arranged to form a swastika, Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Sept. 26, citing a story in The Kansas City Star. The incident received widespread local and national media coverage.

On its Facebook page, school officials condemned the students’ actions and said they “condemn discrimination of any kind,” The Star reported. The students subsequently issued a written apology, received unspecified disciplinary action and were not expelled from the school, KCUR and other media outlets reported.

During a question and answer session after the film’s screening at the school, students asked “incredible, really thoughtful and smart questions,” Warshawski said.

“We felt like they got it,” she said. “We felt supported from the staff, as well. They made an extra effort to bring us in and screen the film.”

Some students asked about Sonia’s past, what her life is like now and whether the film had brought her family closer together, Warshawski said.

“A lot of the students who came up to us afterward said they were going to plan a trip to see Sonia at her shop, so I think she’ll have a lot of new customers,” she said.

“BIG SONIA” awards:

Grand Jury Prize: Best Documentary, Barcelona International Film Festival, 2017.

Best Film/Audience Award, Cleveland International Film Festival, 2017.

Best Documentary, Wilbur Award for Religious Communicators, 2017.

Best Documentary, Napa Film Festival, 2016.

Audience Award, Napa Film Festival, 2016.

Best Heartland Documentary, Kansas City Film Festival, 2017.

AARP Movies For GrownUps Nominee, 2017.

Best Documentary/Audience Award, Monadnock International Film Festival, 2017.

Audience Award, SeaIle Jewish Film Festival, 2017.

Audience Award, Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, 2017.

Audience Award, Mendocino Film Festival, 2017.

Shanghai International Film Festival (festival’s only film made in the United States), 2017.

Audience Award, Berkshire Jewish Film Festival, 2017.

Best Documentary, Dallas VideoFest, 2017.

Best Local Film, Movie Trip Cinema (Kansas City), 2017.

BendFilm Festival — Jury Award, Most Lovable Character, 2017.