So here I am in Sydney, Australia.
Last night was amazing. The Mardi Gras Film Festival and its courageous and visionary Director Lex Lindsay had to organize a second parallel screening of the film on Oxford Street, just to accomodate the overflow of eager audiences. And yes, Jihad played on two screens simultaneously-that is a total of 680 people in one evening! Everyone crowded into the main theater for the Forum discussion afterwards, that lasted for more than half an hour. We were joined by an old friend, fellow gay Muslim Azeem Ahmad, who is one of the first people I had ever filmed with. Azeem shared his amazing story with the Australian audience and the resonance of the film with current refugee, asylum issues here in Oz as well as the ongoing debates about Islam, was profound.
A woman in Hijab, a few gay Muslims and a remarkably engaged audience-made for a really moving evening.
A lot of press is happening.
An excellent interview with ABC, Australian National Radio is available at the link below-this is the Oz equivalent of NPR and Richard Aedy of LIFE MATTERS did a very thoughtful discussion-here is a journalist who had clearly done his homework and really engaged remarkably well with the film. (the interview is about 36 minutes into the program)
A JIHAD FOR LOVE ON ABC'S LIFE MATTERS WITH RICHARD AEDY
THERE IS A THIRD SCREENING ON WEDNESDAY AT THE DENDY CINEMA IN NEWTOWN AT 9 PM-PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD.
Here are some reactions from last night.
I saw your film tonight in Sydney, it was amazing.
Very thought provoking...
I can’t wait to see how it goes in Turkey and Indonesia.
AMAN MALHI writes...
I most say I was completely overwhelmed and over come w/ emotion after watching your documentary. You are truly an exceptional human being and a revolutionary of our time. Thank you, you have given my homosexual Muslim friends a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, letting them know that they are not alone in their struggle.
"Thank you for your brave, challenging and optimistic film. ben.".
And from Mexico, PEDRO writes...
"Hi, Parvez-I watched your film at the Morelia Film Festival. I was amazed by how you managed to capture all of those feelings in one film. Congratulations! Keep up the work!"