QUEER IN A TIME OF
The Three-Part Transmedia Series
Queer in a Time of Forced Migration, is an animated transmedia series that follows the stories of LGBTQ refugees from Egypt, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia across continents and cultures — from the 2011 Revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa region to the world today.
Throughout the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, filmmaker Tamara Shogaolu and Egyptian journalist Nada El-Kouny collected more than 60 oral histories from women, LGBTQ individuals, as well as ethnic and religious minorities. The hope for a new era of human rights stood out among queer voices. While homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, a post-Revolution backlash has forced many in the LGBTQ community from their homes. They risk discrimination, uncertainty, and even violence in the asylum process, hoping to live and love freely in foreign lands. These stories, with follow-up interviews conducted in Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway, form the basis of Shogaolu’s award-winning nonfiction transmedia series, Queer in a Time of Forced Migration.
Leveraging the intimate audio accounts, the series combines visceral animation with the latest new-media storytelling techniques. The film Half a Life premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in 2017 and has screened at more than 40 festivals worldwide. Another Dream, a virtual reality experience, screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2019. The web-based interactive experience, They Call Me Asylum Seeker, premiered in 2020 at London’s Open City Doc Fest. The series has partnered with institutions such as the Sundance New Frontier Lab, the Stimuleringsfonds/Dutch Creative Industries, Harvard Law School, and Yale University.
Half a life
Half a Life
The first installment of the series, Half a Life, primarily asks the question, “What would make someone want to leave their home country?” It follows the life of a young, ambitious queer male who was active in society before the 2011 Revolution. Half a Life, is still touring the world, most recently at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in New Delhi, India.
2019 / ANIMATED DOCUMENTARY VR / 20 MIN.
The second installment, Another Dream, follows a queer female couple’s love story and their journey of asylum from Egypt to the Netherlands. Their departure from Egypt follows the country’s experience of political closing and heightened repression, especially regarding individual freedoms and gender-based discrimination. It primarily asks, “When you leave your home, how do you make a home elsewhere?” While the couple escaped one form of discrimination in Egypt, they faced another form of discrimination in the Netherlands — racial discrimination. Another Dream just screened as part of the Curta Brasilia Film Festival and is now available to view at home with your VR headset on Viveport.
They Call Me Asylum Seeker
They Call Me Asylum Seeker
The final piece, They Call Me Asylum Seeker, is the third installment of the series. It reflects the main characters’ life stories, exploring how that experience of making a home elsewhere has been like and what their connections to home look like today.
After 10 years in the making, all three pieces of Queer in a Time of Forced Migration were exhibited as whole for the first time this December at the Amsterdam Museum as part of the Refresh Amsterdam exhibition exploring ‘Sense of Place’. Due to Covid 19 regulations, the museum closed its doors in December. For now you can view the exhibit virtually here. Queer in a Time of Forced Migration will be showing at the Amsterdam Museum until March 28, 2021.