Germany/France/Turkey 2017 87 min Arabic-Turkish original version with German and English subtitles
by Ayşe Toprak
Script: Ayşe Toprak, DoP: Hajo Schomerus, Anne Misselwitz, Editor: Nadia Ben Rachid, Producers: Antoine Simkine, Ekin Calisir, Christine Kiauk, Herbert Schwering, with: Husein, Mahmoud Hassino, Omar, Nader and Ayman
Two gay Syrian refugees try to rebuild their lives after having been forced to leave their country. Husein is a gay barber in Istanbul. Mahmoud champions LGBTI rights in Berlin. What brings them together is a crazy dream: to join the international beauty contest, Mr. Gay World, as an escape from their trapped lives and an answer to their invisibility.
“These guys love laughing, they love life, and love having fun even though they are surrounded by so much tragedy. Half of them are sex workers, they have family stuck in Syria, they live in a terrible time – probably as bad as it gets. But regardless, they want to laugh and have fun.
And MR GAY SYRIA gave that to them. They could come back to life. You can see how much they want to live – it’s beautiful, and offers an escape.” (Ayşe Toprak, Director)
Ayşe Toprak is a filmmaker based in Istanbul. She received a BFA in Film &TV from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and an MA from the New School. Her work experience includes Channel Thirteen/PBS in New York, and producing for Al Jazeera in London, Doha and Istanbul. Her film MR GAY SYRIA premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest, UK, and got the Human Rights Award at the Sarajevo Film Festival.