• Many characters in the documentary have had their faces hidden, as their lives are still at risk (Facebook)Source: Facebook
The shoestring-budget production might not get completed if funds can't be raised.
Michaela Morgan

17 Feb 2017 - 12:12 PM  UPDATED 17 Feb 2017 - 12:12 PM

Turkish filmmaker Ayse Toprak has been documenting the journey of competitors in the Mr Gay Syria competition, which took place on Valentine's Day in Istanbul last year

The new film shows a side of the refugee crisis that is rarely portrayed, interviewing LGBT+ Syrians who now live in Turkey, Malta, Germany and Norway.

The two leads - Hussein and Mahmoud - escaped Syria to escape persecution only to find that Turkish society does not accept them either.

“We made a film that could be understood at a human level—getting to know our characters' dreams and aspirations as well as their daily struggles,” Toprak says.  

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Hussein Sabat won the Mr Gay Syria competition with a moving personal monologue.

However, the production is desperately seeking funding in order to complete the film, and has set up a crowdfunding page.

While Mr Gay Syria has so far been produced on a shoestring budget, up to 35,000 euros is needed for post-production and community outreach costs.

"We're running this crowdfunding campaign to finish our film and share the important stories of people surviving the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time," a statement on the project's page says.

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The winner of the competition, Hussein Sabat, lost his partner after ISIS threw him off a building.

“I want to show that Syrian gays are not just bodies thrown off buildings by ISIS; we have dreams and ideas and we want to live our lives,” Sabat told the Mail Online.

Many of the characters’ faces are hidden in the documentary because their lives are still at risk.

“This is more a story about what staying alive means, what holding on to life means, what dignity is about,” says Toprak.