A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile explores the story of Amina Arraf, a Syrian-American revolutionary whose blog A Gay Girl in Damascus acquires a huge following as the Syrian uprising gains momentum. There is no indication that this typical online flirtation between two strangers would turn into a case of shocking international intrigue. For months, Sandra in Montreal and Amina, a Syrian-American, bond romantically and intellectually. Encouraged by Sandra, Amina launches a blog called “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” representing a marginalized voice in the Middle East on politics, religion, and sexuality. Rapidly garnering worldwide attention, Amina becomes something of a star blogger. But when Syria enters the Arab uprising of 2011, Sandra receives word that Amina has been kidnapped, and soon the search for Amina becomes a global concern and an even larger mystery to solve. Filmmaker Sophie Deraspe creates a hyper-sexualized tableau and follows Sandra from Montreal to Istanbul to Tel Aviv to Chicago to reconstruct and unravel a fascinating love story-cum-political thriller. Amina is truly a tale of our times—one that starts and is solved via the Internet—and brings into question the ethics, accountability, and very human consequences surrounding it. Director Desraspe joins us to talk about the twists and turns this remarkable tale of love and politics.
“Sophie Deraspe’s film is a compelling anatomy of an Internet hoax – one that grabbed headlines amid the revolutionary fervor of the Arab Spring.” – Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times
“Even knowing what I knew (or thought I knew) before seeing “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” it’s full of surprises.” Andrew O’Hehir, Salon
“A Gay Girl In Damascus raises a number of important questions about the unexpected, sometimes-troubling byproducts of lives increasingly spent in the virtual world.” – Noel Murray, AV Club
“Even knowing the secret of “A Gay Girl in Damascus” doesn’t make this documentary any less tense. That’s a testament to Sophie Deraspe, a director who understands how to let a plot unfold.” – Ken Jaworowsky, New York Times