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Mr. Gay Syria
Director: Ayse Toprak
Producers: Christine Kiauk, Antoine Simkine, Ekin Calisir
Germany, 2017, 88 min., Arab and English with Hebrew and English subtitles
Sheffield Doc Fest 2017 – World Premiere
Chicago International Film Festival 2017 – Best Documentary
Chéries-Chéris 2017 – Best Documentary
Sarajevo Film Festival 2017 – Best Documentary
In association with Hot 8
Hussein, a 24-year-old Syrian refugee living in Istanbul, awaits a permit to move somewhere in Europe. He is a married man, and has a young daughter. He also keeps a major secret from his wife and family: he is gay. The only time when he can be himself is when he hangs out with other Syrian LGBT refugees, who meet up from time to time in a location kept secret for fear of recrimination from their fellow Syrian refugees. To raise awareness within Syrian circles, Hussein decides to participate in the Mr. Gay Syria contest. Having given a touching performance he obtains the title, which includes the chance to fly to Malta, to compete for the title of Mr. Gay World. Will he be able to secure a visa in order to attend this international competition?
This touching documentary tells the story of the trials and tribulations of Syrian LGBT refugees in Erdogan’s increasingly-conservative, homophobic Turkey. Its main figures, who are constantly awaiting the moment when they receive visas to enter Europe, live in constant conflict between tradition and individual identity.