Parvez Sharma is a Muslim gay filmmaker born and raised in India. For three years, Sharma worked as a broadcast journalist for Asia's premiere and most watched 24-hour news network, the Star News Channel/NDTV, covering major assignments across the Indian subcontinent and specializing in investigative/human rights stories and political profiles. He was the Assistant Director for the award-winning feature, Dance of the Wind, produced by Pandora Film in Germany and NFDC India with director Rajan Khosa which won awards at the London, Rotterdam and Nantes Film Festivals. In 2005, he was a Producer at Democracy Now!, the nationally broadcast radio and television program which airs on 225 stations across North America with award-winning host, Amy Goodman. He produced, edited and did additional camera for the DVD of Peter Friedman’s Sundance Grand Jury Award winning film Silverlake Life. Parvez Sharma received his bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Presidency College, University of Calcutta (India) and three Masters degrees: Mass Communication (Film and Television) from India’s premier MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia University; Broadcast Journalism (Masters Diploma) from the University of Wales College of Cardiff, UK; and Film and Video from American University’s School of Communication. He has taught Indian film and other media courses at American University’s Department of Anthropology and its School of Communication in Washington, DC.

In the nineties, Sharma was a print journalist for several prominent Indian newspapers including The Telegraph, The Statesman, The Economic Times, The Business Standard, and India Currents Magazine. While at the Statesman he reported on what was the first ever detailing of the lesbian experience within India for a national newspaper- Emerging from the Shadows (July 3, 1994) – which became a rallying point for lesbians around the country and was crucial in the formation of many lesbian organizations. As an activist he was instrumental in setting up the first organized LGBT effort in the eastern state of West Bengal, setting benchmarks for many other LGBT organizing efforts around the sub-continent. Parvez has spoken internationally on distinguished film/media panels and panels on issues crucial to LGBT communities in a South Asian and Muslim context. He was a featured speaker at Yale University Law School, at Ohio State University, at the Persistent Vision Conference in San Francisco, The Open Society Institute in New York, The Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies in New York and at Amnesty International’s Human Rights Conference – Global Pride, Global Action: Empowering the Spirit of Human Rights.

Sharma's first feature documentary, "A Jihad for Love" is co-produced with the UK's Channel 4, France's ARTE, Germany's ZDF, Australia's SBS, and U.S. LOGO. His work and the film have already been profiled by The New York Times, Variety, The Los Angeles Times, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Hollywood Reporter, indieWIRE, France’s Tetu Magazine, San Francisco Gate, the UK's Gay Times, on NPR Morning Edition and NPR-Chicago and many others.

Parvez's feature debut is supported by more than 22 Foundations and 600 individual donors including the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Andy Warhol Foundation,The van Ameringen Foundation, The Hartley Film Foundation, The Mathilde Krim Foundation, The Andrew Tobias Foundation - Stonewall Community Foundation, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, The Fledgling Fund, The Bruce Bastion Foundation, The Foundation for Fairer Capitalism, The Ted Snowdon Foundation, and The Mark D. Hostetter and Alexander N. Habib Foundation. He was honored with a nomination for a 2007 Rockefeller Film/Video/Multimedia Fellowship.

With his wide range of experience in film, television and activism spanning three continents (Asia, Europe, and North America), and his proficiency in five languages (English, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Punjabi), Sharma hopes to bring a rich cultural perspective and an honest and skillful depiction of Islam-and his very own communities- to this film and the courageous journeys it documents and the global dialogue it catalyzes.


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