First Run Features has acquired US theatrical and DVD rights from The Film Sales Company to Parvez Sharma's documentary A Jihad For Love, which has been lined up for a Panorama screening in Berlin next month.

The film premiered at Toronto last year and explores the plight of gay and lesbian muslims and features testimony from men and women who have suffered at the hands of the authorities in Iran, Egypt and Pakistan, among other countries.

First Run plans a May release at the IFC Center in New York City and will expand the film nationwide after that.

'At a time when Islam is under attack from within and without, I am pleased that First Run, renowned for distributing powerful, risk-taking films, will be bringing be giving voice to the characters and issues in my film,' Sharma said.

Sharma produced with Trembling Before G-d director Sandi DuBowski. The
Film Sales Company president Andrew Herwitz served as executive producer with Linda Saetre, Michael Huffington and LOGO's Dave Mace and Eileen Opatut.

First Run president Seymour Wishman added: 'First Run has been able to reach audiences interested in religious, gay and human rights issues with such films as For the Bible Tells Me So, Before Stonewall and Bonhoeffer. We are excited about continuing our work with such a seminal film as A Jihad For Love.'

MTV/LOGO holds US broadcast rights, SBS has Australian broadcast rights, Channel 4 holds UK broadcast rights and Arte-ZDF has first-window French and German broadcast rights.

All other worldwide rights are available through The Film Sales Company and Saetre Films. Herwitz negotiated the deal with Wishman. Attorney Robert Siegel of Cowan Debaets also represented the film-maker.