Sierra Urich Film still from "Joonam". 2023.

The Film Club: Joonam


26.4 2024


In collaboration with Salam Cinema, The Film Club presents “Joonam”. Spurred by a provocative family memory and a lifetime of separation from the country her mother left behind, filmmaker Sierra Urich delves into her mother and grandmother’s complicated pasts, and her own fractured Iranian identity.

After the screening, Parisa Amiri, freelance journalist, Talieh Ashjari, sociologist, Nadi Tofighian, researcher and lecturer in film studies at Linné University, and Sara Recabarren, freelance journalist, will be in conversation.

Named for a Farsi term of endearment, “Joonam” is infused with humor and heart like only a film about family could be. Interrogating family history and memory, including her grandmother’s experiences as a preteen bride and her mother’s rebellious teenage years during the Iranian Revolution, filmmaker Sierra Urich constructs a rich, personal film that poignantly reflects the experiences of the Iranian diasporic community and speaks to anyone affected by the dislocation that accompanies immigration.

Sierra Urich grew up in rural Vermont, a place and an upbringing far removed from Iran, the homeland of her mother, Mitra, and grandmother, Behjat. Only knowing Iran through family stories, food, and holidays, and with the prospect of travel to the country a seemingly impossible dream, she embarks on a personal quest to make sense of her fractured Iranian identity.

Navigating barriers of language and culture (not to mention the complications of geopolitical conflict and displacement), Sierra Urich turns to Mitra and Behjat to construct a deeply moving and sometimes disarmingly funny portrait of three generations of women and their complex relationship to an Iran of the past.

Person sits leaning against a bed in front of a laptop
Sierra Urich Film still from "Joonam". 2023.
Sierra Urich Film still from "Joonam". 2023.

About the director

Sierra Urich is an Iranian American (“neem-rooni”), award-winning filmmaker, and interdisciplinary visual artist based in Vermont.

Urich’s first film, “Joonam”, premiered in competition at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, and took home three jury awards for Best Documentary at the Cleveland International Film Festival, the Bentonville Film Festival, and the Sharjah Film Platform.

She was honored in Doc NYC’s 2023 40 Under 40 list and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Urich was an artist-in-residence at The Banff Centre for the Arts 2017, Sundance Nonfiction Directors Residency Fellow 2018, Points North Fellow 2018, Firelight Doc Lab Fellow 2021, Chicken & Egg Lab Fellow 2022, and was twice shortlisted for a Creative Capital Award (2020, 2021).

Sierra Urich Film still from "Joonam". 2023
Sierra Urich Film still from "Joonam". 2023.