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First Run acquires ‘Jihad for Love’

Doc is first to explore lives of gay Muslims

First Run Features has acquired U.S. theatrical and DVD rights to “A Jihad for Love,” the first doc to explore the lives of gay Muslims.

The film was directed by tyro Parvez Sharma and produced by Sharma and Sandi Dubowski, the director of “Trembling Before G-d,” which examined the experiences of homosexual Orthodox Jews.

A May theatrical run is planned, starting at Gotham’s IFC Center.

“Jihad,” which preemed at the Toronto fest and is set to unspool in the Panorama section at Berlin, was filmed on many continents, often in secret, because many local governments would not sanction the filming.

Broadcast rights in many territories are taken. Andrew Herwitz’s Film Sales Co., along with Saetre Films, will be selling international rights in Berlin.

First Run has handled several pics dealing with religious, gay and human rights issues, among them “For the Bible Tells Me So” and “Before Stonewall.” It also released the last two installments in Michael Apted’s every-seven-years “Up” series.

Herwitz noted that while the doc market has contracted of late, with major titles such as “Arctic Tale” and “In the Shadow of the Moon” underperforming, specialty distribs remain interested in titles that fit their strategies.

“In a difficult environment, it is all about evaluating the strengths and tastes of each company,” Herwitz said.

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