An Arab Muslim And His Gay Sibling Make Peace In Powerful Short Film

The Four Percent


Filmmaker Mike Mosallam is hoping to emphasize the importance of family, both biological and chosen, this Pride Month with one of his most beloved projects.

HuffPost got a sneak peek at “Brothers,” which hits the streaming service Dekkoo on June 16, via the clip above. Written and directed by Mosallam, the short film comprises both scripted scenes and modern dance to relay a coming-of-age story about two Arab Muslim brothers (played by Martijn Sedgfield and Viktor Simon).

In the film, their relationship is tested in young adulthood after one of them is revealed to be gay. Ultimately, their bond wins out against adversity.

“Brothers” had its world premiere in 2018 and was screened to great acclaim at the Beirut International Film Festival, the ShanghaiPRIDE Film Festival and Nevada’s OutWest, among other festivals. 

Mosallam said he hopes that releasing “Brothers” on a streaming platform during Pride will remind viewers that love conquers all as they celebrate after more than a year of pandemic lockdown and political strife. 

Mike Mosallam's “Brothers” will be released June 16 on Dekkoo.

Mike Mosallam’s “Brothers” will be released June 16 on Dekkoo.

“Family is an important part of every LGBTQ+ person’s life,” he told HuffPost. “What is clear to me now, in my 41 years, more than ever is our innate human desire to heal our past and find closure with those who have wronged us. ‘Brothers’ is the idealistic version of that.” 

“Brothers” is being released at a prolific time for Mosallam, who is based in Los Angeles. In January, his debut directorial feature, “Breaking Fast,” was released to glowing reviews. The cross-cultural romantic comedy stars Haaz Sleiman as a Muslim doctor of Lebanese descent who finds himself wooed by an all-American actor (Michael Cassidy) during the holy month of Ramadan. 

Mosallam stressed that his faith helped him embrace his true self as a gay man, and as was the case for “Breaking Fast,” he hopes “Brothers” will clarify lingering misconceptions about the relationship between the Muslim and LGBTQ communities. 

“The stereotypes, in Islam and in many monotheistic faiths, is that the two can’t and don’t exist. But the reality is they do,” Mosallam said. “Asking someone to deny their faith is akin to asking them to deny their sexuality. When we talk about choice regarding one’s sexuality, what we should be talking about is the choice to love ourselves.”

As to the film’s overriding message, he added, “If you’ve hurt someone or if someone has hurt you, make space to heal. Let go of the hurt, and live your best life surrounded by the love you deserve.”  

“Brothers” will be released June 16 on Dekkoo.


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