Roya Sadat

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Roya Sadat
رویا سادات
Roya Sadat of Afghanistan.jpg
Born1981 (age 37–38)[1][2]
Herat, Afghanistan
OccupationFilm producer and director
Known forMovies Three Dots and Osama, TV show Secrets of This House, and establishing Roya Film House

Roya Sadat (born 1981; in Herat, Afghanistan) is an Afghan film producer and director. She was the first woman director in the history of Afghan cinema in the post-Taliban era, and ventured into making feature films and documentaries on the theme of injustice and restrictions imposed on women. Following the fall of the Taliban regime in the country, she made her debut feature film Three Dots.[3][4] For this film she received six of nine awards which included as best director and best film.[5] In 2003, she and her sister Alka Sadat established the Roya Film House and under this banner produced more than 30 documentaries and feature films.[4][6] She is now involved in producing a television series titled Bahasht Khamosh.[7]


Roya Sadat was born in Herat, Afghanistan[3] in 1983, at the time of the Russian war.[8] She studied law and political science at the Herat University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2005. In 2006, she studied at the Asian Academy, Pusan for a Certificate Course in Film Direction.[6] When she was very young, at the time the Taliban ruled in Afghanistan, women's education was a taboo. Then she and her five sisters were educated at home by her mother.[4] She was an autodidact who educated herself by reading books authored by Syd Field in Persian-translated versions.[3] She was very passionate about producing films. But considering restrictive atmosphere during the Taliban regime in her country she started writing scripts for plays and movies.[6][9] In 1999, even during the Taliban regime, she wrote and directed a play for a theater show for a group of Afghan women.[7] After the Taliban regime came to an end, she started making films and her first feature film as a producer and director was Three Dots, known in Afghanistan as Se noughta,[6][3] or Ellipsis. She made this film in less than two weeks, in a digital video format. The film, though not a quality product, still gave an exposure to the western audience on the status of women in Afghanistan.[8] Sadat discovered Gul Afroz for the lead role in this film even though Afroz had no formal training in acting. When Afroz was prevented by her husband and family members to act in the film she threatened to commit suicide, but she eventually acted in the film.[3] This film received "rave reviews" around the world.[7]

For her documentary titled Osama, which preceded her first feature film, Siddiq Barmak gave her $2000 as payment, and also engaged her to write scripts for two short films and to work on Japanese television.[8] She did research for the documentary Three, Two, One related in illiteracy among women of her country which was produced by her sister Alka Sadat; this was slated for screening, in 2007, in the Afghan parliament to highlight the need for approving pending legislation on this subject.[5]

Her fiction film Taar wa Zakhma meaning Playing The Taar screened at the 7th IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival 2011 deals with the tribulations of a 17-year-old girl married to a much older man. It was also screened at the Kabul's First Autumn Human Rights Film Festival and received large audience appreciation.[9][10] In her film productions she generally works as script writer, director, and in many other roles including music.[9]

In 2007, Roya also worked for Afghan Television Tolo TV and produced popular soap opera called the Secrets of This House with 50 episodes related to the current life of people of her country.[9][10]

In 2003, she and her sister Alka Sadat, established the first independent Afghan film company. In 2006, she pursued her studies at the Asian Film Academy in South Korea under a scholarship.[6]

Sadat is also credited with establishing the International Women's Film Festival in Afghanistan in 2013 as co-founder and president.[4][6]

Sadat was one of the jury members at the "Netpac award" for Malayalam films screened by the Malayalam Cinema, in 2014.[4]


  • Graham, Mark A. (2010). Afghanistan in the Cinema. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-03527-2.


  1. ^ "Meet the 2018 International #WomenofCourage". United States Department of State. March 21, 2018. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  2. ^ Nili, Hadi (March 24, 2018). "نام رویا سادات در فهرست 'زنان شجاع' وزارت خارجه آمریکا". BBC Persian. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  3. ^ a b c d e Graham 2010, p. 142.
  4. ^ a b c d e Nagarajan, Saraswathy (17 December 2014). "Voice of the silenced". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b Nawa, Fariba (2007). "New Voices New Afghanistan". Aramco World. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Roya Sadat: 'She even changed her name to Sohrab, a boy's name'". Huffington Post. 4 May 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "International Jury". Roya Sadat. International Film Festival of Kerala 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Graham 2010, p. 133.
  9. ^ a b c d "Ways Of Seeing: Rhetoric And Reality Report on the 7th IAWRT Asian Women's Film Festival, Seminar and Exhibitions India International Centre, New Delhi March 5, 7 and 8, 2011" (pdf). The Network of Women in Media, India. 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  10. ^ a b Mohan, Reena (20 October 2011). "They question with their camera". The Hindu Businessline. Retrieved 25 June 2016.