Roya Sadat was born in Herat, Afghanistan in 1983. Roya was a teenager when the Taleban took control of Afghanistan forcing women and girls to abandon schools and stay at home. Roya’s mother educated her and her five sisters at home.
Shortly after the fall of Taleban, in 2003, Roya and her sister Alka Sadat, established the first independent Afghan film company. Roya’s films tell the stories of women, their lives, their journeys, their triumphs, and their heartbreaks. They also tell the stories of the continued violence women face at home and in society. For example, her fiction film Taar wa Zakhma, screened at the 7th Asian Women’s Film Festival in 2011, deals with the tribulations of the life of a 17-year-old girl forced into marrying a much older man. In 2007, Roya worked with TOLO TV to produce a popular series called The Secrets of This House. With 50 episodes, the series paints a realistic picture of contemporary life in Afghanistan. Her most recent film, A Letter to the President, gained international notoriety after being shown at festivals around the globe.
In addition to her work as an award-winning director and producer, Roya is the Cofounder and President of the International Women’s Film Festival in Afghanistan, a yearly event that brings global critics, actors, directors, and others in the film industry to Herat to celebrate films about and by women. Roya has a degree in law and political science from Herat University. In 2006, she studied Film Directing at the Asian Film Academy in South Korea.