» Catalyst Series
BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez
The Black Documentary Collective, The Givens Foundation for African American Literature and Intermedia Arts Present
BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez

Twin Cities Film Premiere!
A new documentary film by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

“I want to tell people how I became this woman with razor blades between her teeth.” 
So begins BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, an inspirational filmic portrait of the poet and activist’s life and work. A seminal figure in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s, Sonia Sanchez has harnessed her gift for words as a champion against racism, sexism and war, fusing art and activism over the past six decades.  As a pioneer of spoken word poetry, her influence on hip-hop is fundamental.

"Sonia Sanchez is a lion in literature's forest. When she writes, she roars."
-Maya Angelou

The prodigious Sanchez has been on the front lines of art and activism for 60 years—teaching, writing, performing, protesting.  She was a pioneer of the Black Arts Movement, and fought to establish the first university Black Studies program in the country.
But, her commitment to justice for all people has come at a cost. This film captures the breadth of Sanchez's rich and often unsettled life. This performance-packed film features appearances by Questlove, Talib Kweli, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, Ursula Rucker, Ruby Dee, Haki Madhubuti, Imani Uzuri, Bryonn Bain, Jessica Care Moore, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and more.

LISTEN: Julia Nekessa Opoti's exclusive podcast interview with BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez filmmaker Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

WATCH: BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez Trailer:


February 4 | Thursday | 6:30-9:30PM | Free with Film Ticket

Come early to celebrate the Twin Cities premiere of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez with DJ Chamun, J. Otis Powell‽, and Joe Davis. Then, stick around after the film for a post-show discussion facilitated by The Givens Foundation for African American Literature's Erin Sharkey.

February 5 | Friday | 7:30PM | Free with Film Ticket

Forget movie trailers - Friday's screening of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez opens with a live poetry reading by local Twin Cities poet Khary Jackson inspired by the life and work of Sonia Sanchez.

February 6 | Saturday | 7:30PM | Free with Film Ticket

Missed the Friday screening and poetry reading? You're in luck! Saturday's screening of BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez opens with a live poetry reading by the Twin Cities' own Valerie Deus, inspired by the life and work of Sonia Sanchez.


Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater have been making award-winning broadcast documentaries for more than 25 years. Based in Philadelphia, they are recipients of the Pew Fellowship in the Arts.
Sabrina Schmidt Gordon has been editing and producing high impact documentaries for more than 15 years. Gordon lives and works in New York City.
BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez is the second documentary produced by Attie, Goldwater and Gordon. Their previous collaboration, Mrs. Goundo's Daughter (2009), recounts a Malian mother's fight for asylum in the U.S. to protect her two-year old daughter from female genital cutting/mutilation. Supported by ITVS and the Sundance Documentary Fund, Mrs. Goundo's Daughter was broadcast nationally on PBS' Afropop series in 2011. It has been shown at film festivals throughout the world, including the Human Rights Watch Festival and Silverdocs, and was named Best Social Documentary at the Addis International Film Festival in Ethiopia.
Attie and Goldwater's documentaries often focus on social justice issues affecting women and girls — reproductive rights, violence against women, female genital mutilation — but they also make films about women who have inspired them as artists and activists. In 2003, Maggie Growls, the biography of the founder of the Gray Panthers, Maggie Kuhn, was the premiere broadcast on PBS' Independent Lens. Landowska: Uncommon Visionary, nationally broadcast on PBS in 1999, explored the accomplishments of the pioneering harpsichordist, Wanda Landowska.
Gordon produced and edited the acclaimed documentaries Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, about manhood and gender politics in hip-hop, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on Independent Lens, and Documented, the story of Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who outed himself as an undocumented immigrant and today fights for immigration reform. Documented was broadcast on CNN in 2014.


J. Otis Powell‽ is a poet, mentor, consultant and performer working in aesthetics rooted in Afrocentric lore and culture. His work is informed by oral traditions in literature, music, and the Black Arts Movement.

Joe Davis: Teacher, Activist, Artist. Through Poetry, he communicates the struggle the most effective way he knows how, with words of passion and conviction, to unearth the truth and beauty that lives in us all.

Khary Jackson, Detroit Native is a teaching artist, playwright  nd nationally ranked slam poet.

Valerie Deus teaches English at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus. Her work has appeared in several highly regarded poetry and creative writing journals and anthologies.

DJ Chamun is Sri Lankan American visual artist and jeweler Chamindika Wanduragala. Her love of sharing music led to a weekly dance party in downtown Minneapolis called B’Soul; spinning bhangra, bollywood, Arabic dance music, hip hop, r&b and dancehall. She also spins reggae, latin, funk, soul, international electronica, afrobeat/s.  DJ Chamun has also spun at events for numerous arts and social justice organizations, as well as house parties and receptions. www.chamindika.com

The Givens Foundation for African American Literature is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization with a mission to advance cultural understanding and learning through programs that inspire a passion for African American literature and writers. We envision a world where all people see themselves reflected in the creation and enjoyment of culture, and where the Black experience and communities of color are central to the sharing of story in all its forms. Our core values are that Black creativity is central to contemporary culture, that Black voices and stories are essential, and that culturally responsive engagement will lead to equality.

The Black Documentary Collective (BDC) was founded by the late, great documentarian St. Clair Bourne to support the artistic development and professional advancement of documentary media makers of African descent.  For these film and media makers, it is the singular networking organization for documentary film, video, and media professionals of African descent. The BDC supports its members through hosting screenings, access to professional development workshops, discounted professional services, educational programs, and networking events.  The BDC is also dedicated to making a difference in the ever-increasing communities that are interested in, and influenced by the work of its talented members, through community partnerships, outreach and engagement.  We’ve helped countless members raise money, promote and screen their films, find work and mentors.  We also have a catalog/directory of our members that will be posted soon on our new website, currently under construction.  The catalog & directory allows for anyone interested in our members work to contact them for screenings, jobs, mentorship, distribution, etc.

Generous support for this film comes from the Sundance Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. Special thanks to The Philadelphia Cultural Fund. This activity is also made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota.

A Part of Intermedia Arts' Catalyst Series