Joonam is a non-fiction film that combines observational footage, mixed-media animation/video collage, and home video to tell a story about one filmmaker’s search for belonging in her family’s unreachable Iranian past. The film explores the complex relationships between mother and daughter, Iran and America, and exile and identity.
As the filmmaker digs through her family’s memories, the story slips through time to relive the formative experiences of three generations of women. We follow the filmmaker’s grandmother, Behjat, as an adolescent bride dreaming of independence in the last years of a traditional Persia, and her mother, Mitra, as a righteous teenager caught between Iran and America during the Islamic Revolution. The film exists in this reimagined space until a forgotten story comes to light, rocketing the narrative back into the present as the family confronts their fears of Iran and the film’s potentially dangerous consequences.
Sierra Urich is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker, whose work blends animation, performance, video art, and hybrid filmmaking. She holds a BFA in Illustration and Film/Animation from the Rhode Island School of Design, and has been awarded fellowships, grants, and support from Sundance Institute, Cinereach, Catapult Film Fund, Tribeca Institute, The Banff Centre for the Arts, LEF Foundation, and the Points North Institute.