Filmmaker Sonjja Baram started her career in fashion at the age of 14 as an international model. She then studied fashion and art at the prestigious School of Fashion and Art Esmod-Paris. She became a highly regarded designer with her own brand and believed her path was set until she came across with the reality of the fashion world. She discovered that behind the beautiful faces and captivating world of fashion lay an ugly truth: that the industry was responsible not only for animal cruelty but also modern-day slavery, child abuse and significant environmental devastation.
This led Sonjja to steer her career in a new direction. She chose to turn her energies towards cinema, utilizing her creative talents to bring captivating, engaging stories to audiences around the world. After immersing herself in the study and lore of filmmaking, Sonjja created her first short-subject documentary, Confessions Of A Fashionista, an examination of the hidden effects of fashion on our fragile biosphere. Sonjja’s film also profiles designers who are on the cutting edge of mitigating this damage by adopting sustainable methods of clothing production. Another documentary in progress will explore the world of affordable and 100% sustainable “eco-villages,” which are starting to proliferate throughout the United States and abroad.
Having decided to branch out from documentaries, Sonjja wrote and directed a remarkable short-subject biopic based on the life of iconic actor Charlie Chaplin’s troubled mother, which has received widespread critical acclaim. Blending imagery of the great Chaplin with vignettes of his disturbed but loving mother, Hannah, Can You Hear Me? is a visual tour de force, bringing the beautiful and tragic (yet hopeful) story of this troubled subject to the screen in a poignant, novel presentation reminiscent of some of the great films of the silent movie era. The picture was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France, where it received an award from the AFI Award for the International Peace Initiative for Best Short Art Film for 2019.
As Sonjja embraces this exciting new chapter of her life as a storyteller, documentarian and environmental activist, she looks forward to continuing to use film to create vibrant images and captivating stories and to spread urgent messages. Sonjja’s spirit is her guide, and the journey continues.