Saturday, 15 May 2010

Lesbian Iranian filmmaker denied asylum in the UK, faces deportation in Iran and possible death

*Digital Journal

Kiana Firouz, a young up-and-coming lesbian actress, filmmaker and gay activist from Iran now living in the UK as a refugee, was recently denied asylum there. If she is forced to return, she will face the most brutal of punishments, perhaps even death. [...]

In most blackly ironic fashion, Ms. Firouz's big screen debut in the documentary Cul de Sac will premiere in London in a few days. Cul de Sac is based in great part on Ms. Firouz's own life story as a lesbian in Iran, and of all the difficulties she faced. The trailer for Cul de Sac on YouTube has already attracted a great deal of media attention, given Ms. Firouz's precarious situation. It also appears to have attracted the attention of the Islamist authorities in Iran as well, who will now be keeping a very keen eye out for Ms. Firouz's homecoming in Tehran as her plane lands at Khomeini Airport. I think we can all picture how that story would end. [...]


Kiana Firouz is a 27-year-old Iranian filmmaker, actress, and LBGT rights activist. Her film, Cul de Sac will premiere in London in a few days. Firouz might not be able to see it.

The trailer for the film (NSFW), which features Firouz in a starring role and is heavily based on her life, was posted on YouTube in 2009. Even from the trailer, it is clear that this is not something the Iranian government would enjoy. It shows Firouz in several explicit sex scenes, and features Firouz discussing her views on human rights in Iran. [...]

On the other side of the Atlantic, filmmaker Ishita Srivastava has also set out to raise awareness about LGBT rights. Her new documentary Desigirls! is about South Asian lesbians living in America. Although they don't face the same imminent risks as Firouz, they, too, are pushed aside and made invisible by a lack of representation in popular culture and media. Trailer below.

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