Sydney's first Queer Arab Film Festival

12 August 2014

Queer Arab Film Festival 2014
"Very few queer Arab film festivals exist in the world," said Professor Amer.

The new Chair of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Professor Sahar Amer, is already implementing dynamic programs with the introduction of Australia's first Queer Arab Film Festival.

"The Queer Arab Festival is an idea that I have been nursing for quite some time," said Professor Amer. "It is a topic that is hugely taboo among Arabs and Muslims, and thus so many Arab and Muslim gay individuals feel lonely and have no place to go."

The festival, which runs every Wednesday until October 22, will showcase 11 queer films spanning from 1950 with Akher Kedba (The Last Lie) up until the present day with new film Lesbanese (2014).. All films are in English or subtitled.

"I have selected a big diversity of films and a combination of fiction films and documentaries. I also have made an effort to have a wide representation of films from or about LGBTIQ issues from different countries (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, England, Australia, etc.), and I have also included films about Islam and homosexuality."

"Very few queer Arab film festivals exist in the world," said Professor Amer.

"It is important, I think, to bring to the fore a discussion of queer Arab and Muslim identities…having such a discussion in a university setting with introductions and Q&As by an academic each week is a powerful and safe way to approach this topic."

The Queer Arab Film Festival is presented by the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies and the project A Continuing Spring: Arab and Australian Views on Social Justice, Equal Economic Development and Cultures of Freedom which is sponsored by the Council for Australian Arab Relations (CAAR).

Professor Sahar Amer has just joined the faculty from Yale University. She has published extensively on gender and sexuality in Arabic and French literature and has a forthcoming book What Is Veiling? set for release later in the year. Her previous published works have included Crossing Borders: Love between Women in Medieval French and Arabic Literatures.

Professor Sahar Amer is available for interview.

Media enquiries: Kate Mayor, 02 9351 2008, 0434 561 056,

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