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Beirut Dreams in Color

Michael Collins
Marty Syjuco, James Costa, Sarah Kaskas
A singer in a leather outfit stands before a crowd of fans, one waving a Pride Flag over their shoulders.

Mashrou’ Leila are indie rock gods in the Arab world. But their fame comes with a price. In a part of the world where singing about politics or sexuality is more than a little risky — and with an openly gay lead singer — Mashrou’ Leila’s very existence and success is unprecedented. As one longtime LGBTQ activist notes, in the battle against homophobia in the Middle East, the band’s reach is unique, its power undeniable. “One good song can do more than 5,000 protests.” But a rising tide of small yet influential extremist religious voices in the region target the group, with accusations of blasphemy and threats of violence.

In this culture of growing conservatism, and staunch homophobia, the band plays to a massive stadium crowd in Cairo. Against a sea of cellphone lights, one fan hoists herself up, determined to demonstrate her support for the group at all costs.

Award-winning filmmakers Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco (“Give Up Tomorrow”, “Almost Sunrise”), James Costa (“Call Her Ganda”) and Sarah Kaskas (“Underdown”), bring us the timely story of an unlikely band, a daring fan, and the harrowing repercussions sparked when their lives intersect.