Short Film: “Anya Kneez – A Queen in Beirut” by Mohamad Abdouni

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I met filmmaker and photographer Mohamad Abdouni through a mutual friend during a 2-month stay in Beirut with my band Kabreet. Mohamad, who has worked with publications such as Vice UK and L’officiel, has dedicated himself to portraying his city’s contemporary queer culture, which has become more vocal and self-confident in the past years. Meeting him not only gave me a chance to get to know an extremely sincere, cool and motivated artist and person and discover his work. It also let to project of a new Kabreet video. But this is not what this posting is about.

This is about Moe’s beautifully shot documentary short “Anya Kneez”, a film about a drag queen from Brooklyn from a Lebanese family, who moved to Beirut for family and job reasons. In the film, Anya reflects on her life situation, while working on new dresses and getting prepared for a night out. The film’s focus lies on the love-hate-relationship that the drag queen has with the city – something I feel like many Beiruti queers and trans people feel, since while the city offers freedom, but can be limiting on different levels. Mohamad manages to give these ambivalent feelings a space, while celebrating drag as an art for and craft.

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You can stream the film, which premiered at the Brooklyn Museum in early June, below or via Cold Cuts, Mohamad Abdouni’s new online and print magazine. The online platform features exclusive short form video content for established and emerging talents from around the globe, while the print publication (issue #1 out later this month) is described as an “aperiodic exhibition curated in the form of a print publication”.

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