Egyptian filmmaker Sam Abbas has recently kick-started a production company named ArabQ Films, where he makes movies with LGBT themes.
His newest movie is “The Wedding,” which is about a secretly gay man marrying a woman. It will be screened in select theatres in the U.S. this December, but will also be airing in Egypt itself, where the screenings are in secret and only accessible through invitation to protect the viewers.
“The Middle East, especially Egypt, is not LGBTQ friendly,” Abbas told Reuters. “It is so bad that you can get targeted for just being friends with, or associated with the LGBTQ community.”
Homosexuality isn’t explicitly illegal in Egypt, but is targeted under anti-debauchery laws. Any solidarity with the community is discouraged — dozens of people were detained after raising a rainbow flag during a rock concert last year.
“The film to me, more than anything, is about repression and alienation … hopefully it will show individuals of the community that they are not alone,” Abbas said.