Creator of Muslim drag queen documentary slams Channel 4 over rival doc

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A young filmmaker who released a film about Muslim drag queens has attacked Channel 4 – for releasing a documentary on the same topic.

The broadcaster announced yesterday that it would air a one-off First Cut documentary titled Muslim Drag Queens, giving a new insight into the gay Asian community in the UK.

The documentary, which will be narrated by Sir Ian McKellen, will focus on 33-year old Asif Quaraishi/Asifa Lahore, 28-year old British Pakistani Imran/Zareena Khan and 22-year old Ibrahim.

However, young filmmaker Kieran Yates – who released separate short film Muslim Drag Queens in January, also featuring Asifa Lahore – is not impressed with the doc.

According to Dazed Digital, the idea was pitched to Channel 4 by Yates’ director Marcus Plowright without her involvement.

She took to Twitter to complain: “Really great that Channel 4/Swan are doing such original content (focusing on two of the queens from my film).

“After taking my idea (and title) the director has made the point that although this was my story, and he was bought on after the idea was commissioned, I wasn’t needed to help tell the rest of the stories, despite giving access, doing interviews, and producing the film.

“Great that while C4 were aware of this unethical practice, and responded to my claim that minority voices should tell minority voices by hiring a team of white men to tell this story, and Ian McKellen to do voiceover.”

She told Dazed: “This is a perfect example of an institution being happy to publish ‘edgy’, minority stories and pat themselves on the back for being ~diverse~, but when it goes viral/is well-received will quite happily exclude the very people who gave them the stories and prevent their voices from being heard.

“It is crucial that minorities are allowed to tell their stories. It’s our capital. I am angry that has been taken away from me here.

“It is unacceptable that ‘minorities’ are used for their insight and first-hand experience into worlds which the mainstream can’t access.

“There is a huge problem with minorities like me being left out of stories that they have found//helped develop. This is unacceptable practice.”

Channel 4 implemented tough new diversity quotas earlier this year, aiming for a better representation of minorities in all areas, both in front of and behind the camera.

Watch Yates’ film below, via the Guardian.