Meet Sonari Chidi. Sonari is currently a student at the University of Pennsylvania double majoring in Africana Studies and Cinema and Media Studies. He is also the Co-Founder of Penn FilmAid, an organization dedicated in bringing to life refugee narratives and stories to a global audience.
Before entering college, Sonari was an actor, appearing in commercials and guest starring in high-profile films and TV shows like ABC’s Modern Family and The Mindy Project. He soon realized that while he loved bringing stories to life and connecting the dots to embody a character, there were many stories in the world that were unacknowledged, where real individuals whose narratives were invisible in the eyes of the world.
While at UPenn, Sonari and 11 other students visited Kalobeyei, Kenya where they created a short series of documentaries on refugee resettlement in partnership with FilmAid International. Moved by the organization’s mission and the surprising anti-refugee sentiments he observed, Sonari co-founded Penn FilmAid to bridge the gap between the Penn community and the greater Philadelphia area.
Since founding this organization, Sonari has created several short documentary films both for his cause and for NGOs across the world. One of his films, “Shattering Refuge,” which explores media’s representation of refugees, was actually awarded Rough Cut Film Festival Social Justice Award and will be showcased in various film festivals across the U.S.