The modern Middle East can often be a tricky minefield for the queer community. But that hasn’t stopped anyone from putting up a fight.
Designed to erase the stigma surrounding the community while creating a safe celebratory space for North-African individuals, Dhakira Collective’s debut festival is taking a first step towards representation by tackling one sub-region at a time.
The inaugural iteration of the North African Queer Film Festival will run from August 13 to 20 and will be accessible for free via the collective’s official website. Showcasing award-winning films that explore identity in North Africa, including Les Derniers paradis, Upon the Shadow and The Art of Sin to mention just a few. It is also worth noting that all proceeds from the festival will be forwarded to profit various initiatives including Aswat Nissa, Alouen, Mawjoudin Film Festival and Rainbow Egypt.
Catering for as many viewers as possible, all films will be subtitled in English and a few will be in French as well. Voicing the experiences and journeys of many minorities in the region as well as in the diaspora, Dhakira attempts to cast a light on the socio-political, and cultural aspects of queer identity in the region while also challenging historically dominant means of representation that have been put forward up until now.
Curated by the collective itself and funded by Head & Hands and the #RisingYouth program, the films here “serve as a window into the historical presence of queer people in the region who have always been here despite marginalization, criminalization and erasure by the current systems of oppression in North Africa inherited from colonization.” as the organisers have stated in their release.
Relevant, woke and ever-so-important, we cannot wait to see what the festival has in store.