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Parvez Sharma’s Groundbreaking Documentary
About Lesbian and Gay Muslims

Fourteen centuries after the revelation of the holy Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad, Islam today is the world’s second largest and fastest growing religion.  In A JIHAD FOR LOVE, Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma travels the many worlds of this dynamic faith, uncovering the stories of its most unlikely storytellers: lesbian and gay Muslims. Produced by Sandi DuBowski (Trembling Before G-d) and Sharma, the film was shot (often in secret) in twelve countries and nine languages and is the world's first feature documentary to explore the complex global intersections between Islam and homosexuality.

In Western media, the concept of 'jihad' is often equated with holy war. But it also has a deeper meaning: ' to struggle' or 'to strive in the path of God.' The majority of Muslims believe that homosexuality is forbidden by the Qur'an, and many scholars quote Hadith (sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) to condemn homosexuality. As a result, gay and lesbian Muslims often must engage in their own personal ‘jihad for love’ – a pursuit that brings them into conflicts with their countries, their families, and even themselves. Many end up renouncing their faith altogether.

But the subjects of A JIHAD FOR LOVE aren't willing to abandon their faith. Instead, they struggle to reconcile their ardent belief with the innate reality of their being. They don’t seek to vilify or reject Islam, but rather to negotiate a new relationship to it.  In doing so, the film's extraordinary characters attempt to point the way for all Muslims to move beyond the hostile, war-torn present toward a more hopeful future.

It took Sharma six years to complete the film, which was difficult for the subjects to agree to participate in due to the threat of violence. But ultimately they all stepped forward with their stories to reclaim the concept of a greater jihad and to open a dialogue that has been almost non-existent in Islam's recent history.

A JIHAD FOR LOVE had a world premiere at Toronto, followed by a successful national theatrical release. The film is endorsed by Human Rights Watch, which recognizes select First Run Features films that shed light on human rights abuses throughout the world.

Director/producer Parvez Sharma is a New York based writer and filmmaker. A JIHAD FOR LOVE is his first feature and has become an international phenomenon with more than 700,000 viewers in 30 nations in the first year of its release. Sharma variously has been hailed “a gifted filmmaker” (WSJ), “frankly brave” (NPR), “provocative” (San Francisco Chronicle), and “an apostate” (South Africa's Muslim Judicial Council). A leading commentator on Islamic, racial and political issues, his writings frequently appear on The Huffington Post. Currently he is engaged in a nationwide speaking tour and in pre-production for a new film, partly set in his home country of India.  Sharma previously has worked as a television journalist in India and the UK. He also worked on Democracy Now! in New York as a producer and as a print journalist in India and the US. He was educated in India, the UK and the US and in the past has served as an adjunct professor at American University, developing and teaching that university's first curriculum on Bollywood and other Indian cinemas. OUT Magazine named Sharma one of the OUT 100 for 2008, and he has been nominated for a GLAAD Media Award in 2009.

Producer Sandi DuBowski directed Trembling Before G-d (2001), which had a world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, received twelve awards, was released theatrically in the United States, Israel, Canada, Germany, South Africa, and UK and is airing on BBC, The Sundance Channel, ZDF-Arte, HBO Latin America, Israel’s Keshet/Channel Two, and other TV stations worldwide. DuBowski has conducted 800 live events with the film across the globe, and it has been seen by an estimated 8 million people. He created Trembling on the Road to document this life-changing movement for the DVD and launched to engage people through global house parties and online events. DuBowski has spoken on numerous panels at conferences and festivals, including the Toronto IFF, Sundance, the Berlin Film Festival Talent Campus, Hot Docs, Silverdocs and IFP. Currently he is directing a new film called Soul Trainer.

DVD BONUS FEATURES: Behind the Scenes • Director Interview • New Footage from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia 8 Language Subtitle Options

 “Revealing and moving…notable for its depiction of the tenacity with which its subjects hold on to their faith despite the wall of bigotry, often homicidal, that confronts them.” – Wall Street Journal

 “A remarkable exploration, six years in the making, of the lives and struggles of gays and lesbians in the Islamic world today.” – Huffington Post 

 “Dignity and despair woven tightly together…Courageous.” – The Guardian

 “Lifts the veil of secrecy….frankly brave.” – NPR, Talk of the Nation

 “A passionate, essential first step … both haunting and inspiring.” – New York Sun

 “Fascinating, provocative, important.” – San Francisco Chronicle

 “Intimate portrayals...courageous.” – Boston Globe

 “Pioneering, heartfelt...this film will both inspire and anger.” – Bay Area Reporter

 “Provocative, deeply felt, original and emotionally complex.” – Village Voice

 “Heartfelt debut… Gains depth of feeling as it goes and even develops something of a nail-biting narrative.” – The New York Times

 “Rich with compelling, often heartbreaking stories…a much-needed reminder that the foundation of any great religion consists of love and understanding.” – Film Threat

81 minutes, color, English and Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Hindi, Turkish & French w/English subtitles, 2008
UPC #: 720229913430 Catalog #: FRF 913430D
Suggested Retail Price: $24.95
Pre-book Date: March 17  •  Street Date: April 21

For more information, including the press kit, photos, credits and more, please visit



Exposing the Dirty Little Secrets
Behind Our Nation’s Crumbling Infrastructure

“This country is being run like the Mafia.”

“It’s all about wasteful projects lining the pockets of those lobbying Congress for their own

 “Is this any way to run a country?” - SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN

One of America’s proudest achievements, our national infrastructure, is now its most dangerous embarrassment. Our bridges, dams, levees and highways are crumbling, toppling, being washed away, and putting American citizens and cities at risk. How could the most powerful nation on the planet let this happen?

Narrated by Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss and directed by Emmy Award-winning investigative broadcast journalist Leslie Cardé, AMERICA BETRAYED begins with an exploration of the little-known causes behind the levee failures post-Katrina, using this as a springboard to expose the rampant collusion, corruption and cronyism within the government agencies whose very purpose is to protect us.

Featuring interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, noted scientists, whistleblowers who risked their lives and careers to speak out, and politicians from both sides of the aisle (including Barack Obama and John McCain), this searing documentary reveals how much-needed funding is misappropriated for questionable uses, how the Army Corps of Engineers is more concerned with self-serving transitions into corporate America, and how we’ve wasted taxpayer dollars building other nation’s infrastructures and not our own. It is the story of how lobbyists and greedy politicians funnel money to pet projects; how those sent to investigate and police abuses are often bribed into silence, and how shoddy planning and construction frequently contribute to the erosion and destruction of our cities.

AMERICA BETRAYED is both a cautionary tale for those who trust their government and a wake-up call to Washington – and Americans everywhere.

DVD BONUS FEATURES: Interview with Director Leslie Cardé • Bonus Scenes: "Whistleblowers," "Revolving Doors" & "Scratching Backs" • Resource Guide

• Official Selection, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
• Top Ten Film Selection, Tacoma Film Festival
• Final Selection, Documentary Category, La Femme Film Festival

• Official Selection, Lake Arrowhead Film Festival

“With America Betrayed the government’s secrets are out.”


“This documentary will give you a new view of your government. See it!”

“A smart, galvinizing documentary.” – CYNTHIA FUCHS, POPMATTERS.COM

94 minutes, color, 2008
UPC #: 720229913720 Catalog #: FRF 913720D
Suggested Retail Price: $24.95/CAN.: $29.95
Pre-book Date: March 17  •  Street Date: April 21

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