New Documentary Focuses On Syrian And Lebanese Bears

By BTL Staff

A new documentary, "The Bears of Beirut," is part of a new Indiegogo campaign focusing on the lives of gay refugees from Syria on route to Lebanon and the two gay men who are trying to help them.

In the film, Beirut-based Bertho and Hizam are offering a community center for Syrian refugees. The two men, who have established NGO Proud Lebanon, are struggling to provide the medical care, psychological assistance and transit of the refugees to a gay-friendly country.

Beirut, a liberal city in a conservative region, has a community of gay bears that live somewhat openly, including Bertho, one of the subjects of the film.

The producer and director of the film, Rick Jacobs, notes, "Following bear culture in the Middle East is something that has not been covered in a documentary before. As a gay man, and also part of Scandinavia's bear community, stories about other LGBT people who struggle with life decisions they can't control is something very close to my heart."

Jacobs plans to take a serious topic and fill the film with "a lot of love and humour." "Despite what most of these people have been through, their spirit hasn't been broken yet," Jacobs says. "Raising the funds for this film will help tell what we feel is a vital story rarely seen on screen."

Rick Jacobs joins award-winning cinematographer Gabriel Mkrttchian, both with have many years' experience working with the entertainment industry in Scandinavia. The latter's recent short film, "PLEASURE," won the prestigious Canal Plus Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Both Jacobs and Mkrttchian are based in Sweden.

Traditional modes of funding for the two-year project haven't been successful, so Jacobs has turned to crowd sourcing. GROWLr and Bear World Magazine have already issued support.

To learn more about the documentary or where to contribute, visit

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