Following its World Premiere at CPH:DOX and a North American Premiere at SFFILM Festival, Nefise Özkal Lorentzen’s documentary film SEYRAN ATEŞ: Sex, Revolution and Islam will have its Canadian premiere at Hot Docs Festival 2021.
The film focuses on Seyran Ateş, a Turkish-German bisexual Muslim feminist and human rights activist, one of the first female imams in Europe, who founded the Ibn Ruschd-Goethe mosque, the first liberal and LGBT friendly place of worship for Muslims in Germany.
In the 1960s, the hippies championed the idea of a sexual revolution. They received neither Fatwas nor bodyguards. In 2020, Seyran Ateş – a Turkish-German lawyer, feminist, and one of the first female imams in Europe – is fighting for a sexual revolution within Islam. In return, she was shot, received fatwas and death threats, and now has to live under constant police protection. Seyran believes the only way to fight against radical Islam is through Islam, which is why, in her liberal mosque, there is no gender segregation or exclusion based on sexual orientation. This is the story of Seyran’s personal and ideological fight for the modernization of Islam. Her quest for change takes her on a journey around the world, meeting with different people connected through faith, from sex workers in a German brothel to Uyghur LGBTQ youth and traditional female imams in China. It is also a journey through Seyran’s life, from her humble beginnings as a Muslim girl in Turkey’s slums to a female leader daring to challenge her own religion. Seyran rebels against extremism and hate in the name of peace and love.
Watch the trailer for SEYRAN ATEŞ: Sex, Revolution and Islam
Director Nefise Özkal Lorentzenis a Turkish-Norwegian writer, filmmaker and associate professor at The faculty of Audiovisual Media and Creative Technologies at Innland University, Norway. She received her B.A in Political Science at Bosphorus University in Istanbul and her M.A in Media and Communication at the University of Oslo. Over the past two decades she has produced and directed several controversial documentaries related to Islam. As a result of her dedication to LGBTQ rights and human rights activism through her films, she’s been named one of the TOP 10 immigrant role models in Norway. Her trilogy of films entitled, GENDER ME (2008), A BALLOON FOR ALLAH (2011) and MANISLAM (2014), brings alive these untold stories through public visibility. Nefise has received several awards and nominations, and her films have premiered in prestigious festivals such as IDFA, Rhode Island Film Festival, and Göteborg Film Festival among others. She was nominated for the History Makers Award in NYC. Utilizing her workshop concept, “gender activism through films”, she has cooperated with various NGOs in Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, Turkey, Germany, USA etc. She hopes one day gender segregation and violence against women will be a long-forgotten aspect of history.