Pia Sawhney


Pia SAWHNEY is an award-winning reporter - and has collaborated on productions for PBS, the Los Angeles Times, Radio Free Europe and Voice of America. She completed a 3-year verité documentary project in 2006 on US Muslims detained and deported by American immigration authorities after 9/11.

That 66-minute film titled, OUT OF STATUS, was nominated for the Amnesty DOEN Award for Human Rights during its premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival. It subsequently aired on Channel 4 TV (UK), played at film festivals worldwide and on several European television stations. OUT OF STATUS was reviewed by The New York Times, TV Guide, and Variety and had a theatrical run in New York City in August 2007. Pia and her co-producer on that film, Sanjna Singh, were nominated for ABC’s Talent Development Award.

Pia has also worked in multimedia communications and human rights. She holds two masters degrees: one in international relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts and one in science/broadcast journalism from NYU.

Pia has written for the Huffington Post since 2008.


Her July 2012 essay, "Has The Data Revolution Hurt Democracy?" defined how the rise of the libertarian movement, the plethora of information online, and data consumption patterns were reshaping American politics.

A May 2013 paper describes how technology and globalization are starting to weaken strong states. The piece considers that Bahrain, a Persian Gulf nation with Shia and Sunni constituencies, is an especially relevant example. "Policy and Prejudice: Shia Divisionism in Bahrain" is posted here.


For work samples and more info, visit the Rotterdam Film Festival website and the site. For sales of OUT OF STATUS, contact WIDE MANAGEMENT (France).

Her documentary, RWANDA: TAKE TWO, commissioned by the Rotterdam Film Festival, premiered there in January 2010, was reviewed by Variety magazine, and played at festivals in Europe and in Rwanda. The film was also a finalist for "Outstanding Story" at the South Asian Journalists Convention in 2011. Watch it here: