The Mardi Gras Film Festival opens tonight (14 February) at the City Recital Hall in Angel Place. The event will be structured around the My Queer Career 2008 competition, with showings of short films and an exclusive award ceremony.

This year’s festival features a great set of films, among them the controversial documentary about the coexistence of Islam and homosexuality.

After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2007, A Jihad For Love has already inspired communities around the world.

Directed and produced by Parvez Sharma, the film enters the many worlds of Islam by illuminating multiple stories as diverse as Islam itself. Its subjects come from a myriad of countries including India, Pakistan, Iran and South Africa.

Sharma highlights how the majority of gay and lesbian Muslims must travel a twisting, lonely and often dangerous road.

The real-life characters who aren’t willing to abandon a faith they cherish struggle to reconcile their ardent belief with the reality of their being.

The film took six years to make and, as the camera attentively captures the stories of the individuals involved, the documentary gives a unique and honest insight into the world’s fastest growing religion.

A Jihad For Love screens at the Palace Academy Twin on Thursday 21 February at 7:30pm. For more details on this and other screenings visit www.queerscreen.com.au.

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