London Kills Me ; )

With its warmth and affection for this work...

800 people in two packed, sold out screenings. Many Muslims, all engaged and the impact of the film here at the BFI has clearly been huge. Now onwards to Copehagen, Stockholm, Istanbul, San Sebastian and Turin.
Here are some comments:
Alex writes:
"Hello Mister Parvez!
How are you my friend? Let me first introduce myself. My name is Alex, I am spanish but have been living and working in London for the past 6 years.
I went today Sunday to see your wonderful film and now, almost 3 hours later it finished I still have my stomach revolved! You cant imagine how good it is what you re doing!! I am a devoted for the muslim and arab world, although I am christian I really follow the Muslim Hindu Arab world since I love the people and have a good insight of the hindu arab community. I am also learning arabic since the last 6 months and now know how to read and write although i dont have much vocabulary yet....
I just have words of congratulations, admiration and hopes that you will continue your work in the future. I signed in and put my email address in the form that had been passing around today in the cinema (not my credit card details though ;-) but I wouldnt mind doing so if that is to help you to carry on your formidable work. What a corageous man !! I still have troubles to assimilate what you ve done!! The muslim world needed someone like you and hope you will inspire more others from now on! I could type in now the whole night and tell you also my gay story, difficult coming out, etc... but my fear is you wont read this email seeing it so long! hahaha and i am sure you ve heard thousands of similar stories already.
I envy you my friend.
Last thing, I can imagine how extremely busy your life is now, cinema, promotion, etc, etc, etc.. If there s anything I could do to help you, or translations or anything you could think of i would very gladly help you ...
I ve heard you talking, calmed down, serious, listening to your comrades...... you ve been just BRILLIANT.
Keep it up and all the best Parvez!
There s only one God for all of us!"

Hassan writes:
"Hey Parvez
the movie was wonderful! i loved it
Im so happy Jihad has done so well - and that it's getting all this great press and recognition - and what great timing with the case of that Iranian boy. we read an interview with u in The Times - i appreciated your thoughts on Iran-bashing.
warm congratulations. you are so inspiring. i was telling my mom all about u and the film."

Chris says,
"Just a note to say that I attended your screening last night, and the film lived up (and surpassed) my every expectation. Also I was surprised and moved by the lighthearted moments."

Abe writes,
" Congratulations on your London coup!
I just heard the piece on NewsHour on the BBC and I thought Parvez did aspectacular job! (It might have seemed more logical, of course, if the
interviewer had considered Parvez' answers to previous questions beforeasking the follow-ups!) Anyway, I thought it was tremendously powerful!


More on the Dutch bin Laden

I found a very interesting comment on here about me calling Mr. Wilders so called film-'stupid'. I do stand by my words and understand that by mentioning him, I do fall into the vicious cycle of giving him more publicity, which is EXACTLY what he wants. He does want Muslims to erupt in noisy protest and they well might. But for us as Muslim filmmakers, silence is not an option and when misguided and ill-informed attempts at 'movie making' such as this one are attempted, we do need to raise our voices in protest.
I do invite you all to see 'A Jihad for Love' in Amsterdam tonight at 7 pm, in the Hague tomorrow and again in Amsterdam on Sunday.
At the end of the day, this film does speak for itself.

Ad Schurings comment is reproduced in its entirety here, and I see no reason to comment on his comment, but do want you all to read a valid point of view:

"I thought it would be wise to promote your movie on my weblog instead of attracting even more attention to Wilders on the night his film went online. But I'm a bit saddened by your comment here:
It is not very intelligent to just say Wilders cannot make a decent film or that he has no knowledge of Islam. You must agree he's an incredible strategist. His party and Mrs Verdonk's party are on about 25 % op the vote in recent polls and rising. And that is only because other parties did not want to adress the problems with new minorities in our country. I think even more people then the polls suggest in NL have some serious questions on if and how the Muslim community can and will distance itself from religious terrorism.

I think there is a challenge there and to just say his questions are insulting and stupid is not helping us, Dutch gays, in settling our doubts about your religion.
Are young muslims in Amsterdam not attacking gay men on their way home from gay bars? Why do they think that is ok?

We also have some problems with the pretty fundamentalist Polish Catholics in this country (I got into a fight with them last fall at our local gay bar and ended up in the canal, which saved me, because they couldn't swim).
Further I also was raised religiously, but will not call myself Catholic anymore, èver, because that religion does not recognize me as the person I am and preaches that I should live a life of unhappiness and lies.

I know, we are all searching, and looking for way out of these troubled times. I have some great experiences with muslim fuck buddies. I very much like their attitude of: "I'm horny and I want to fuck, no questions asked; no relationship please" .
Maybe for the first decades the strategy of "don't als don't tell" is not such a bad idea.
Sadly that does not combine easily with good healt education and STD prevention."


Europe Tour Begins, The Dutch bin Laden and The Times writes

Great Article in the Times from London today by Tim Teeman. Here is the link:

A Jihad for Love: Can your faith really kill you?

Amsterdam-screening Friday night, the Hague on Saturday and a third screening on Sunday.

I will post updates from the road as a xenophobic, far right and misguided Geert Wilder decides to release his incredibly stupid so-called 'film'. I just wish Mr. Wilder would have the courage to show up at our screenings in his country tomorrow or on Friday and debate with Muhsin and myself.

I have seen 'Fitna' and as a filmmaker and a Muslim condemn Mr. Wilder's lack of knowledge and very obvious lack of any film making talent.

This is what I say to Mr. Wilder and the minority that supports him. This man is the Dutch Osama bin Laden, and I have no fear or shame in saying that.

"Your rather limited understanding of the world, Mr. Wilder means that thousands of young Pakistanis will not get internet access. You have no idea about pretty much anything-I suggest you begin educating yourself by inviting you as a special guest to our screening. But maybe your limited and polarising, not to mention opportunist politics will prevent you. Please do try and understand what 'Fitna' really means to us. And really try and get an education in Islam, in world politics, in the responsibility that comes with free speech and indeed in how to try and make a film. May I recommend classes and film school? How can someone like you be elected to office in such an amazing country that holds so much promise to so many of us?"


Jihad on the Road and Hiring a Muslim Outreach Director

Festival History
A Jihad for Love had a World Premiere at The Toronto International Film Festival in September 2007. It screened at The Berlin Film Festival as the Opening Documentary of Panorama in February 2008. The film will kick-off a US theatrical release at The IFC Center in NYC on May 21, 2008 with our distributor First Run Features.

A Jihad for Love has screened at:
The Toronto International Film Festival, September 2007
The Rio Film Festival, Brazil, September 2007
The Morelia Film Festival, Mexico, October 2007
The Sheffield Documentary Film Festival, UK, November 2007
The Out in Africa Film Festival in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa, November 2007
MIX BRASIL, Sao Paulo Brasil, November 2007
The Image + Nation Film Festival, Montreal, Canada, November 2007
The Tri-Continental Film Festival in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore, India, January 2008
The Berlin Film Festival, February, 2008
The Mardi Gras Film Festival, Sydney, Australia, February 2008
The One World Human Rights International Documentary Film Festival, Prague, Czech Republic, March 2008
The Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, Thessaloniki, Greece, March 2008

And beginning this week this is our festival and further schedule, so you know where to find us with the film.
The Amnesty International Film Festival, Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam, Holland, March 2008
The London Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, March 2008
The Natfilm Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark, April 2008
The Singapore International Film Festival, April 2008
The Istanbul International Film Festival, April 2008
The San Sebastian Human Rights Film Festival, Spain, April 2008
The Torino Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Italy, April 2008
The Pink Apple Film Festival, Zurich, Switzerland, April 2008
The Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, April 2008
High Falls Film Festival, Rochester, NY, April 2008
Athens International Film Festival, Ohio, U.S., April 2008
Planete Doc Review, Warsaw, Poland, May 2008
Berkshire Film Festival, U.S., May 2008
Boston Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Boston, MA, May 2008
SASOD Film Festival, Guyana, June 2008
Frameline Film Festival, San Francisco, U.S., June 2008
Vukovar Film Festival, Vukovar, Croatia, June 2008
Sri Lanka Pride Festival, Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 2008
Outfest, Los Angeles, U.S., July 2008
Tokyo Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Tokyo, Japan, July 2008
The Melbourne International Film Festival, July 2008
Jersey Human Rights Film Festival, UK, October 2008
Indonesia five-city tour, August 2009
Special underground screenings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Lahore, Pakistan

MIX BRASIL, Sao Paulo Brasil - Award for Best Documentary
The Image + Nation Film Festival, Montreal, Canada – Award for Best Documentary
Tri-Continental Film Festival, India - Jury Award for Best Film
One World Human Rights International Documentary Film Festival, Prague, Czech Republic - Honorable Mention, Right to Know Competition

And yes, the job call is out. This is the description and we are looking for amazing applicants. Email us with your resume at info@ajihadforlove.com.
Hiring a NYC Muslim Outreach Director for A Jihad for Love and Muslim Dialogue Project
In a time when Islam is under tremendous attack from within and without, "A Jihad for Love" is a daring documentary filmed in twelve countries and nine languages. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma has gone where the silence is loudest, filming with great risk in nations where government permission to make this film was not an option. "A Jihad for Love" is Mr. Sharma's debut and is the world's first feature documentary to explore the complex global intersections between Islam and homosexuality. Parvez enters the many worlds of Islam by illuminating multiple stories as diverse as Islam itself. The film travels a wide geographic arc presenting us lives from India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa and France. Always filming in secret and as a Muslim, Parvez makes the film from within the faith, depicting Islam with the same respect that the film's characters show for it. "A Jihad for Love" is produced by Sandi DuBowski (Director/Producer of the award-winning "Trembling Before G-d") and Parvez Sharma in association with ZDF-Arte, Channel 4, LOGO, SBS-Australia, The Sundance Documentary Fund and The Katahdin Foundation. The film has been acclaimed widely around the world and has won multiple awards and premiered at many prestigious film festivals internationally including Toronto 2007 and Berlin 2008.

The Director of Outreach will work closely the staff of Halal Films to develop and implement outreach/advocacy, education, online PR, and marketing strategies. The Muslim Outreach Director will serve as the primary project coordinator and work closely with Executive Director Parvez Sharma and Director of Strategy and Fundraising Sandi DuBowski.

o Catalyze NYC theatrical release of a A Jihad for Love campaign kicking off at IFC Center in NYC on May 21st (other major will open from June-September including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Washington D.C., Boston and Chicago).
o Develop partnerships with international, national, and local Muslim, Arab, Iranian and South Asian organizations and create events and post-screening discussions in the cinemas. Partnerships include Islamic thinkers, theologians, religious and civil rights leaders, and immigration/ asylum activists.
o Monitor blogs and Web sites (Muslim, Arab, Iranian, South Asian GLBT, film, spiritual, interfaith, human rights/social change etc.) to identify opportunities for A Jihad for Love campaign including link exchanges with other sites, mailing lists, website discussion areas, online newsletters, web press, etc.
o Develop and implement online PR strategy for A Jihad for Love campaign to amplify our reach online and to grow our e-subscriber list.
o Research and implement web-based outreach, PR and marketing activities including social networking via Facebook, MySpace etc., viral marketing, search engine marketing, text messaging, blogs, tagging and other forms of electronic communications.
o Support fundraising for A Jihad for Love campaign with grant submissions, foundation research.
o Recruit and supervise interns.


The ideal candidate will have:
o Enthusiasm and passion for A Jihad for Love and the issues at its core, and spreading the message around the world.
o Interest in Muslim, Arab, Iranian, South Asian community, online engagement, public interest advocacy/campaigns, film.
o Experience working with Muslim, Arab, Iranian, South Asian communities.
o Strong computer skills, including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel), web publishing tools, as well as Internet research skills
o Ability to work with social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and sites in the Middle East/ Iran and South Asia.
o Ability to juggle multiple tasks under deadlines
o Ability to communicate clearly and effectively, both verbally and in written format, with staff, media and external partners
o Ability to work independently with minimal supervision with a team that is far-flung geographically

START DATE: Immediate
TYPE OF POSITION: Full-time position until at least Summer
SALARY: Commensurate with experience

Please send a resume, a cover letter about why you would like to work on this project, and contact info for three references to info@ajihadforlove.com


Thessaloniki and Award

The garbage workers are on strike, and as far as homosexuality goes, this is definitely a troubled country. However, we did have a packed screening two nights ago, with a very interesting question and answer that lasted 45 minutes. We have also won a Special Mention from thethe Rudolf Vrba Jury at the One World Film Festival in Prague. The Rudolf Vrba jury members were: Mohsen Sazegara (Iran), Kim Seoung Min (North Korea), Oksana Chelysheva (Russia), Osvaldo Alfonso Valdes (Cuba) and Min Zin (Burma).The jury watched 16 feature-length documentaries.
More to come, including further updates from Greece.


Džihádem za lásku

Yes that is the title of this film in Czech!
In Prague, this most ancient of capitals, scarred by its years of Communism-my Jihad has found an unlikely home. The audiences have been packed and in two screenings we have had more than 800 people see the film with a 45 minute question and answer session last night! People have been sitting in the aisles.
The reactions keep pouring in and one of the audience members from last night, wrote this beautiful comment:
"By watching Jihad for love today i realized many things: how difficult it can be for muslim people in their contries to admit that they are homosexual or even come out with it. Because their problem is not only about finding a balance in their souls with their sexual orientation. They need to find the balance with their religion as well, their love to god. And that in their societies is their orientation question of life or death. I just would like to support with my message all these people. There is nothing to feel guilty about, god made you, god loves you how you are, you and your feelings are creation of god."

Now onwward to Thessaloniki in Greece where the film will play on Tuesday. More details will follow.

Here are some press updates from Australia. Please just click on the links below.

Life Matters
SBS Alchemy
SBS World View
JJJ Hack

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