Advance Diversity Services (ADS) has partnered with Queer Screen to offer a subsidised community screening of El Houb – the Love – a heartbreaking and humorous coming-out drama at a local cinema next month.

The Sydney premiere of El Houb – the Love is screening (subsidised offering at $10) at Event Cinema Hurstville on February 16 at 7pm as part of Queer Screen’s 30th Mardi Gras Film Festival (MGFF23) February 15 to March 2, 2023.

The discounted $10 tickets for the Hurstville screening can be booked here.

El Houb – the Love shows how a Moroccan-Dutch man’s life is at a crossroads when his traditional Muslim family discovers he’s gay,’ says ADS Executive Officer Antoinette Chow.

‘Through a series of funny and unflinchingly frank conversations between Karim (Fahd Larhzaoui), his brother (Sabri Saddik), and their parents (Lubna Azabal and Slimane Dazi), we see Karim’s battle to break an ingrained culture of silence.

‘As the tale pans out, we’re shown Karim’s beautiful and poignant memories from his childhood and his faltering first steps with Ghanaian boyfriend Kofi (Emmanuel Ohene Boafo). Having (literally) barricaded himself in his parents’ closet, we also learn how important it is for him to be seen for who he really is.’

This is the third year ADS has partnered with Queer Screen to bring a relevant film to the local culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations it works with in St George.

‘ADS is proud to partner in bringing Queer Screen’s 30th edition of the MGFF to people in our region,’ Antoinette Chow, CEO said. ‘In doing so, we hope people who identify with a diverse gender and/or sexuality (LGBTIQA+) will see that ADS is an inclusive service – welcoming and supportive.’

ADS is able to make this year’s event possible, thanks to funding from Georges River Council and the HIV and Related Programs Unit, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District. As part of the funding, ADS will also be organising an LGBTIQA+ forum and offering inclusive practice training to service providers in the local area.

Ms Chow said ADS is committed to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes of LGBTIQA+ people.

‘For the last three years, we have holistically reviewed our services, entering the Health and Wellbeing Equality Index and achieving gold tier status for two of these three submissions. We are the first CALD-specific organisation in Australia to achieve this status.

‘We have become a lighthouse to services, sharing insight about our journey, for example, more recently presenting to the Diversity Health Committee between St George and Sutherland Hospitals. We welcome the NSW Health LGBTIQ+ Strategy and are excited to see much needed change in this area, particularly in the service provision of CALD LGBTIQA+ people.’

El Houb – the Love is written and directed by Shariff Nasr and will be screened in Dutch with English subtitles. It navigates themes of family dynamics, cultural taboos, and self-acceptance and is based loosely on the real-life experiences and theatre work of the actor playing Karim (Fahd Larhzaoui).

As the world comes to Sydney for WorldPride, MGFF23 is offering 166 films across 100+ sessions in cinema, outdoors and on-demand at home.

El Houb – the Love is one of many world-class offerings for people to view during MGFF23,’ says Ms Chow. ‘The festival also honours those who have come before, with seven retrospective screenings, and a day of community outdoor screenings to show how Queer Screen has survived, thrived and helped to shape the history of queer film in Australia.

‘As Karim’s story shows there is still a long way to go to ensure LGBTIQA+ people from CALD backgrounds feel safe to be who they are and find full acceptance in their communities and families.

‘We want LGBTIQA+ people from CALD backgrounds in our area to know ADS is working behind the scenes and right beside them to build a better future in which CALD communities are more supportive and inclusive.’


Book your $10 ticket at Hurstville cinema from Queer Screen here.

View the full MGFF23 program and book your other MGFF23 in-cinema and in-home tickets here.

View the El Houb – The Love trailer here – 

Note: Content warning – contains suicide themes