Mr. Gay Syria, Directors Ekin Çalışır & Ayse Toprak, Turkey
Set in Istanbul and Berlin, Mr. Gay Syria follows two exiled Syrian gay refugees who are trying to rebuild their lives. Husein is a married father who lives a double life in Istanbul, and Mahmoud is the founder of Syria’s LGBTI movement and lives in Berlin as a refugee. By signing up for the Mr. Gay World contest, Husein reveals himself and hopes his family can come to terms with his identity. For Mahmoud, it is the means to launch a campaign for visibility for all Syrian gay refugees.
La Rockeuse du Desert, Directors Laura Bustillos, Mexico & Sara Nacer, Algeria
In a breathtaking Sahara desert landscape in western Algeria lies the mining town of Bechar. Here, an illiterate and singularly talented sexagenarian, Hasna El Becharia, leads a group of Algerian women of all ages to learn and perform the traditional music of the Gnawa ceremony and culture, in spite of an age-old prohibition against women as Gnawa artists.