Songs She Sings in Shadows

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Songs She Sings in Shadows

Original title: Songs She Sings in Shadows

Directed by: Fazila Amiri

Produced by: Lesley Johnson, Fazila Amiri (Songs She Sings in Shadows Inc., Canada)

Country of production: Canada

Runtime: 90'

Expected release: December, 2021

Production stage: Post-production

Budget: $330,000 (70% in place)

1st feature: Yes

Looking for: Post-production and completion funds for gap financing, world sales and distribution, broadcast sales and acquisition, festival screenings


Zahra and Sadiqa are the only two female contestants on Afghan Star, a reality singing show in Afghanistan, under the mentorship of the global Afghan popstar Aryana Sayeed. Their dream is for a woman to win the show for the first time, despite receiving death threats within the patriarchal society, while Aryana attempts to hold the first major concert by a woman, amidst the US-Taliban peace negotiations.

Director’s profile:

Fazila Amiri is an Afghan-Canadian director, writer and producer based in Toronto. She holds an MFA degree in Film Production from York University and a BFA in Film Studies from NSCAD University. Her films explore social issues, personal histories, women’s rights and present a nuanced and contemporary view of Afghanistan to international audiences. Her short films THE RED BYCICLE (2019), UNKNOWN ARTIST (2018), and THE PHOTOGRAPH (2017) have been screened at the 2020 Canadian Film Fest, 2018 Hot Docs International Canadian Documentary Festival, and Atlantic Film Festival, and won the Lindalee Tracey Award (Hot Docs 2018), Best Story Award at Amnesty India Film Festival, Don Haig Award, Pay It Forward Prize (Hot Docs 2019), and Wouter Barendrecht Award (HAF, 2014). She is an alumnus of Hot Docs Accelerator Lab and RIDM Talent Lab.

Producer’s profile:

Lesley Johnson is a filmmaker and producer based in Toronto, whose work focuses on intimate stories of personal transformation. She holds an MFA in Film Production from York University. As a producer, her projects have appeared on CBC, APTN, and been selected for TIFF and Canada’s Top Ten. Her short films PRINCESS JACK (2016), I HOLD THE DEHCHO IN MY HEART (2018) and CHARLIE (2018), have won awards and screened at numerous festivals including BFI Flare, Inside Out, and TIFF’s “Share Her Journey” program. Her latest documentary, REVOLUTION MOOSEHIDE (2020), is currently in festivals. She is an alumnus of DOC’s Breakthrough Program, RIDM’s Talent Lab and Sundance Documentary Collab.