Shayda Wins SOFEE

Shayda Wins SOFEE

Shayda Wins SOFEE

The Critics Choice Association (CCA) Women’s Committee is pleased to announce that “Shayda” (Sony Pictures Classics) will receive the Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment. Called the “SOFEE,” the Seal recognizes outstanding new films and television series that illuminate the female experience and perspective through authentically told female-driven stories.

Executive produced by Cate Blanchett, “Shayda” follows an Iranian mother who escapes an abusive marriage and starts a new life with her 6-year-old daughter in an Australian women’s shelter. In her feature directing debut, Noora Niasari taps into her own childhood experiences to create a true to life depiction of the struggles that come with trying to break free from domestic violence. Infusing the film with 1990s Persian culture, Niasari also shines a light on the immigrant experience, providing an understanding of what it’s like to depend on a foreign land because it’s not safe to go home.

“My deepest thanks to the Critics Choice Association Women’s Committee,” said Niasari. “It is an honor to receive the SOFEE (Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment) for ‘Shayda.’ I know that the entire cast and crew would be proud of this recognition. We strived every single day to make an authentic film that captured the experience of escaping domestic violence from an empowered, female lens. To be given a 10 out of 10 score with SOFEE only affirms the power of stories like ‘Shayda’ and their potential to connect and leave a lasting impression with audiences.”

The film received a perfect score in the numerical formula that is used to determine if new titles, nominated by CCA Women’s Committee members, are eligible for a SOFEE. Qualifying projects will have a prominent female character arc, give female characters at least equal screen time to male characters, have female leaders behind the scenes, and pass elements highlighted in the Bechdel test. To be considered, new film and television releases must possess an artistic and storytelling value and exceptionality, and score at least 7 out of a possible 10 points in the SOFEE rubric, which can be found at

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The Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment is issued by the CCA Women’s Committee. Members include Tara McNamara (Chair), Hillary Atkin, Semira Ben-Amor, Christina Birro, Lauren Bradshaw, Jamie Broadnax, TJ Callahan, Catalina Combs, Ashley Dvorkin, Marriska Fernandes, Toni Gonzales, Teri Hart, Susan Kamyab, Destiny Jackson, Emma Loggins, Lilly Liu, Lucia Magi, Louisa Moore, Gayl Murphy, Mary Murphy, Sherin Nicole, Patricia Puentes, Christina Radish, Amanda Salas, Rachel Smith, Tessa Smith, Sammi Turano,  Lynn Venhaus, Lauren Veneziani, Federica Volpe, and Stacey Yvonne, as well as Board member Grae Drake.

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