‘Brothers’ wins 2019 Best Short-Viewers’ Choice Award at Reel Out Charlotte

Short film centers on the relationship between a gay Muslim Arab man, his brother and his parents

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 11th Annual Reel Out Charlotte, the Queen City’s LGBTQ Film Festival, was held April 28- May 5, 2019, at Camp North End. With nearly 1,000 attendees throughout the week, the event was a resounding success. The film festival has released the winner of its 2019 Best Short-Viewers’ Choice Award, decided by popular vote among audience members at the film festival’s annual Short Films Showcase on May 1.

Mike Mosallam

Short film “Brothers,” written and directed by Mike Mosallam, received the most votes in the audience-driven contest. “Brothers” is a coming-of-age story following a Muslim Arab boy coming to terms with his sexuality. Upon recognizing that he is different through the lens of his family and society as a whole, he decides to face his fears with the support of an older brother who stands by him and encourages him to be himself, in the face of bias and adversity. Produced by Alex Lampsos, the film stars Victor Simon and Martijn Sedgfield in the story’s key brotherly roles. “Brothers” was filmed and produced in Los Angeles in 2018.

Director Mike Mosallam says the film isn’t an auto-biographical journey, but stresses that it’s not entirely a piece of fiction, either.

“It is a common tale; one I’ve heard over and over from various friends and acquaintances who grew up with a utopian sense of familial love only to be blindsided by the harsh and senseless reality of parental fear and religious misconception,” Mosallam says. “In the end, ‘Brothers’ is an opportunity to start a conversation, perhaps with one’s brother or sister or mother or father; an opportunity to heal; and an opportunity to remember once what was most important: unconditional love.”

Charlotte Pride Programs Director Jerry Yelton says “Brothers” represents an increasingly diverse selection of short films being submitted to Reel Out Charlotte each year, many of them tackling often unheard stories from a variety of social justice intersections.

“Reel Out Charlotte’s annual Short Films Showcase was honored to have ‘Brothers’ as a selected short film this year, and we congratulate director Mike Mosallam and the film’s entire production team and cast on the film’s award,” Yelton says. “‘Brothers’ was among dozens of submissions focusing on stories we don’t often see portrayed in media — be it in the mainstream or traditional LGBTQ cinema. It’s compelling plot and artistic and musical elements obviously struck a chord with festival-goers.”

Reel Out Charlotte’s Annual Short Films Showcase and Best Short contest featured 11 short films this year, culled from more than 120 submissions by a team of reviewers on the Reel Out Charlotte volunteer team.

Learn more about the film and the director online at http://watchmmp.com/brothers.

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Mike Mosallam is a director, producer and executive consultant of theatre, film and television. In 2015, Mike wrote and directed a film, “Breaking Fast,” which he has fully developed into a feature film script that has received much praise through industry table reads, entering pre-production in 2018. On the theatre side, Mike has produced and directed more than 100 theatrical productions from large-scale musicals, intimate cabaret settings, plays, concerts, and multi-media theatrical events. After eight years in New York / Los Angeles, Mike returned to Michigan in 2009 to head a new initiative, the Wayne County Film Office, and helped attract more than 70 titles to the metro Detroit area. In January 2012, he moved to Los Angeles to head up the production development arm of Sunset Gower Studios where he worked with shows such as “Scandal,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” and HBO’s “Looking” and “Togetherness.”

Reel Out Charlotte is the Queen City’s annual LGBTQ film festival. This program of Charlotte Pride uses the power of art and film to entertain, enlighten and build valuable bridges of understanding, support, and acceptance within and between the LGBTQ and ally communities in the Charlotte region. The film festival celebrated its 10th annual event in 2018.

Charlotte Pride is the leader in LGBTQ visibility in Charlotte and the Carolinas. We present and collaborate on programs, projects, and activities, including the annual Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade, Charlotte Trans Pride, Charlotte Latin Pride, and Reel Out Charlotte, among others. Since its founding in 2000, Charlotte Pride has expanded its year-round programming and partnerships to better connect community members with its mission, vision, and values. It is now one of the largest LGBTQ Pride organizations in the American Southeast.

Matt Comer, Communications Director, matt@charlottepride.org