A Jihad for Love (India/USA, 2007, 81 min, DigiBeta)
By: Parvez Sharma
Screens: Friday, October 17, 9pm
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. Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma travels the many worlds of this dynamic faith, discovering the stories of its most unlikely storytellers: lesbian and gay Muslims. Produced by Sandi DuBowski (Trembling Before G-d) and Sharma, A Jihad for Love was filmed in 12 countries and 9 languages and comes from the heart of Islam. Looking beyond a hostile and war-torn present, it reclaims the Islamic concept of a greater Jihad, whose true meaning is akin to 'an inner struggle' or 'to strive in the path of God' - allowing its remarkable subjects to move beyond the narrow concept of Jihad as holy war.
Parvez Sharma is a Muslim gay filmmaker born and raised in India. For three years, Sharma worked as a broadcast journalist for Asia's premiere and most watched 24-hour news network, the Star News Channel/NDTV, covering major assignments across the Indian subcontinent. He was the Assistant Director for the award-winning feature, Dance of the Wind, produced by Pandora Film in Germany and NFDC India with director Rajan Khosa which won awards at the London, Rotterdam and Nantes Film Festivals. In 2005, he was a Producer at Democracy Now!, the nationally broadcast radio and television program which airs on 225 stations across North America with award-winning host, Amy Goodman. He produced and edited the DVD of Peter Friedman's Sundance Grand Jury Award winning film Silverlake Life. Parvez Sharma received his bachelor's degree in English Literature from Presidency College, University of Calcutta (India) and three Masters degrees: Mass Communication (Film and Television) from India's premier MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia University; Broadcast Journalism (Masters Diploma) from the University of Wales College of Cardiff, UK; and Film and Video from American University's School of Communication. He has taught Indian film and other media courses at American University's Department of Anthropology and its School of Communication in Washington, DC.