PARVEZ SHARMA, Director/Producer
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.
SANDI DUBOWSKI, Producer
Sandi DuBowski is a filmmaker and writer based in New York. His feature documentary, Trembling Before G-d, was in theatrical release in the United States, Israel, Canada, Germany, UK, and South Africa (in the U.S. with New Yorker Films). Trembling Before G-d was launched at New York's Film Forum to incredible audience, critical, and box office response and opened in over 80 U.S. cities. Trembling had a World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and has been the recipient of twelve awards including The Teddy Award for Best Documentary at the Berlin Film Festival, The Mayor's Prize for the Jewish Experience at the Jerusalem Film Festival, The GLAAD Media Award for Best Documentary, The Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at OUTFEST Los Angeles, and The Council on Foundations Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film and Media. The film was nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards for the IFC/Directv Truer Than Fiction Award. The L.A. Weekly named it one of the 10 Best Films of the Year. It was broadcast on BBC, ARTE, Israel's Keshet/Channel Two, The Sundance Channel, HBO Latin America, Australia's ABC, Poland's Canal Plus, Canada's The Documentary Channel, and other TV stations. An estimated 8 million people saw the film worldwide. Feature stories on the project have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Filmmaker Magazine, The Jerusalem Post, The Globe and Mail, CNN, and BBC News among other print and media outlets.
At the World Premiere of Trembling at the Sundance Film Festival, director DuBowski and Rabbi Steve Greenberg, the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi, hosted the first-ever Shabbat at Sundance and with partner Working Films, an unprecedented Mormon-Jewish gay dialogue. Since then, DuBowski has traveled to 100 cities around the world to conduct over 800 dialogues and events with 200,000 individuals across faith, sexuality, age, racial, and Jewish denominational lines. Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Creative Capital Foundation and other foundations awarded Greenberg and DuBowski seed funding to launch an Orthodox Community Education Project in the U.S., Israel and the U.K. with the film (already eighteen Orthodox synagogues have invited the film to screen). They trained 11 facilitators in Jerusalem who held screenings and led dialogues for 2,000 principals, teachers, school counselors and therapists across the nation, breaking the taboo on discussing the issue of homosexuality in the country's Orthodox (and secular) school systems. And they convened the first Orthodox Mental Health Conference on Homosexuality.
DuBowski is a recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation's Film/Video/Multimedia Fellowship. In addition, his work has received support from Skywalker Sound - a division of Lucas Digital, Ltd. as well as over sixty foundations including The Creative Capital Foundation, The Steven Spielberg Righteous Persons Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Artslink, The Jerome Foundation, The Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media, The H. van Ameringen Foundation, and The National Foundation for Jewish Culture's Fund for Jewish Documentary Filmmaking.
DuBowski has written for Filmmaker Magazine and International Documentary Magazine, and spoken on numerous panels at conferences and festivals - The Toronto International Film Festival, The Sundance Film Festival, The Sheffield Documentary Film Festival, International Documentary Association, The Hot Docs Film Festival, ShowBiz Expo, BritDoc, The Open Society Institute, and The Independent Feature Project.