‘Big Sonia,’ film about local Holocaust survivor, premieres to sold-out crowd in Overland Park

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A long line nearly extended out the door Friday night at the Glenwood Arts Theatre in Overland Park for the world premiere of "Big Sonia," a documentary about 92-year-old Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski.

“We wanted to tell a story that would honor her,” said Leah Warshawski, Sonia’s granddaughter and director of the film, “and honor and talk about all the work that she does in the community and some other people she’s affected.”

"Big Sonia" took six years to make. It follows Sonia as she continues to work six days a week at her tailor shop while giving speeches at prisons and schools.

“While it’s educational and historical, it’s ultimately entertaining, we knew Sonia is entertaining, she’s comical," co-director Todd Soliday said.

Warshawski survived three different Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust in World War II.

For years after the war, Warshawski didn’t talk about her time in places like Auschwitz, where the S.S. burned a serial number into her arm.

But now Warshawski’s inspiring life story is on the silver screen.

Screenings are planned for the rest of the week at the Glenwood Arts Theatre, with an additional week of showings a distinct possibility.

"Big Sonia" is eligible for an Oscar Nomination and has already been highly praised on the film festival circuit.

“We’ve won 15 awards so far, and a lot of those are audience awards," Leah Washawski said, "and so we’re just honored and humbled by that."