Norsk filminstitutt

In the 1960s, the hippies championed the idea of a sexual revolution. They received neither Fatwas nor bodyguards. Today, Seyran Ateş – a Turkish- German lawyer, author, feminist, and one of the first female imams in Europe – is fighting for a sexual revolution within Islam. In return, two fatwas have been issued against her; she has received uncountable death threats and has been living under constant police protection for several years. 

While working at a women's center in 1984, she was shot in the neck by a Turkish nationalist. Seyran Ateş' choice after the failed assassination attempt was obvious: she could give up or fight back. She experienced the threshold between life and death; this experience has given her the strength to follow her revolutionary ideas.  

However, the number of death threats against her rose drastically, not only from extreme Islamists and Turkish-Kurdish nationalists but also from German right-wing extremists. By the time she opened the liberal Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque in 2017 in Berlin, the German authorities provided her with 24/7 police protection. As difficult as it is, she has always carried on her fight, not only as a lawyer and women's rights activist but also as a female imam.  

Her quest for change takes her on a journey around the world by virtue of values and faith,  which may or may not always be shared with her: from sex workers in a German brothel to Uyghur LGBTQ youth, as well as to traditional female imams in China, where the practice has existed for over 300 years, without the majority of the world even being aware of it.  

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 religion. She continuously travels around the world as a human rights and LGBTQ activist. She is the most police-protected civilian woman in Europe. Seyran rebels against extremism and hate in the name of peace and love.  

Production and distribution

Production Year:
2021
Production country:
Norway
Release date (national):
2021-08-23
Release date (international):
2021-04-23
Production company:
Integral Film AS
Financing company:
Norwegian Film Institute
Viken Filmsenter
Fond for lyd og bilde
Fritt Ord Foundation
Arts Council Norway
International Documentary Association
Producer:
Jørgen Lorentzen
Film consultant:
Lars Daniel Krutzkoff Jacobsen
Kalle Løchen
Cecilie Stranger-Thorsen
Sales agent:
DR Sales

Director

  • Nefise Özkal Lorentzen

     Nefise Özkal Lorentzen (b. 1964) is a Turkish-Norwegian film director. She holds a Bachelors's degree in political science from the Bosphorous University in Istanbul, Turkey, and a Master's degree in media and communication from the University of Oslo. She has written and directed numerous documentary films, often touching upon controversial themes such as gay Muslims, war, and racial discrimination. In 2008 she also made her debut in fiction, writing and directing the five-episode drama TV-series The Young Detectives. In addition to making films, Özkal Lorentzen has also written several books. 

    Nefise Özkal Lorentzen

Festivals

2021:
San Francisco International Film Festival
2021:
CPH:DOX
2021:
Movies That Matter
2021:
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
2021:
DOXA Documentary Film Festival
2021:
NorthwestFest - International Documentary Film Festival
2021:
One World - International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Prague
2021:
Biografilm Festival
2021:
Rhode Island International Film Festival
2021:
The Norwegian International Film Festival Haugesund
2021:
Millennium Docs Against Gravity Film Festival
2021:
BIFF - Bergen International Film Festival
2021:
UNAFF - United Nations Association Film Festival

Crew

Director:
Nefise Özkal Lorentzen
Screenplay:
Nefise Özkal Lorentzen
Cinematographer:
Anders Hoft
Editor:
Morten Haslerud
Composer:
Geir Johnson
Sound Design:
Andreu Jacob
Animator:
Simon Valentine
VFX artist:
Simon Valentine

Technical information

Format:
DCP 2k
Colour:
Colour
Sound format:
Stereo
Length in mins:
81'
Language:
English
German
Turkish
Norwegian
Subtitles:
English

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