For a gay filmmaker, filming in Saudi Arabia presented two serious challenges: filming is forbidden in the country and homosexuality is punishable by death. Director of A Sinner in Mecca Parvez Sharma took those risks as he embarked on his Hajj pilgrimage.
When God Sleeps depicts the journey of Iranian musician Shahin Najafi, who was forced into hiding after hardline clerics issued a fatwa for his death, incensed by a rap song that focused on the oppression of women and human rights abuses. As a youth, Najafi was talented in recitation of the Koran. Now each of his concerts puts his life at risk.