Out and About
The Amina Profile opens in Toronto August 21st
Amina Arraf, an attractive Syrian-American revolutionary, is having an online affair with Sandra Bagaria, a young and brilliant Montreal professional. Amina then launches her provocatively named blog, A Gay Girl in Damascus. As the Syrian uprising gains momentum, the blog acquires a huge following. But it’s Amina’s subsequent abduction, allegedly by the Syrian secret police—that sparks an international movement to save her. Playing out like a detective story, The Amina Profile involves American intelligence agencies, top-tier global media and a host of activists and sympathizers.
Director Sophie Deraspe and subject Sandra Bagaria are close friends, which allowed her to witness the relationship from the very beginning. Once the hoax was revealed, Deraspe suggested documenting it on film to Bagaria.
“When I suggested we could travel around the world and meet with all the key people involved in the story, she was eager to share the burden and the pain, to understand more and to find closure, even if at that time we didn’t know how far all this would lead us,” said Deraspe. “One thing that I am sure of is that Sandra didn’t want to appear to be a victim. She wanted to take control back, in a way. And she entrusted me to go beyond the sensational story to which her name will be attached for as long as the Internet exists.”
The film has a run time of under 90 minutes, but could have easily been released as a 30 or 60 minute documentary, as it does drag in some parts. Overall it offers an interesting insight into the world wide web, where anyone can be who they want to be, often becoming recognized the world over for good, and sometimes for not so good. Either way, watching this film does create awareness of what’s going on in other parts of the world, where what we take for granted each day here in North America, is far from acceptable elsewhere such as Syria and the Middle East.
About Director Sophie Deraspe
Sophie Deraspe fell into cinema through visual arts and literature. As both a director and a cinematographer, she worked mostly in documentary before directing her realism-bending first feature length film Missing Victor Pellerin (2006). With much critical acclaim and screenings around the world, Sophie’s realistic work continued with her second feature, Vital Signs (2009) which premiered in Rotterdam and was honoured with a total of 15 prizes the world over. Sophie has completed her third feature film The Wolves.
The Amina Profile opens in Toronto – August 21 – The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema – 506 Bloor St. West. Director Sophie Deraspe will be in attendance on Saturday August 22, for a post screening Q&A.
Official Selection of Sundance Film Festival 2015
Official Selection of Hot Docs 2015
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.