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About: Queen Tut follows Egyptian teenager Nabal (Ryan Ali), who, after the loss of his mother, leaves Cairo to live with his father in Toronto. Parachuted into the underground queer nightlife, he confronts his mother’s death by taking up the ways of drag and becoming Queen Tut under the guidance of trans drag mother, Malibu (Alexandra Billings, “Transparent” Amazon series).

I am pleasantly surprised by this film that could have been weighed down with family drama and immigration issues. It is not. Nabal arrived in Toronto and appears ready to explore the city and residents other than his father’s corporate world and church. He does reminisce about his mother and her dreams of fashion design after leaving her husband when he was a young boy. He lovingly reviews the pages of a book of memories and has flashbacks to his childhood, loving the fabrics and her creativity. When Nabal meets Malibu on the street as she campaigns for saving her place from gentrification and demolition, they strike up a friendship that helps lead him on a journey he may not have known he would/could pursue. The script is very good, and the cast performances are great, especially from Ryan Ali (“SkyMed” Paramount+/CBC, The Hummingbird Project). His role as Nabal appears very natural and has an authenticity as the character in this stage of his life. All his scenes with the other cast members were good (Billings) and Dani Jazzar (“What We Do in the Shadows” TV series) as his father, Iskander.

Directed by Reem Morsi from a script written by Abdul Malik, Bryan Mark, and Kaveh Mohebbi, Queen Tut stars trans icon Alexandra Billings, Ryan Ali, Kiriana Stanton, Selena Vyle, Thom Allison

Edited by: Ben Lee Allan; Cinematography by: Issa Shah (excellently captures the emotional as well as humor shared between the characters, the glamorous costumes and the artistry of sewing). 

Music by: Saud Bushnaq, multi award-winning film and concert music composer, provided fabulous music for so many scenes and is deserving of the Canadian Screen Award for the Original Score.

LGBTQIA+ feature Queen Tut held its World Premiere at Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, went on to screen at OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival Miami, Out on Film Atlanta, the Way Out West Film Festival, and the Desperado LGBTQ+ Film Festival. It was nominated for multiple awards at the prestigious Canadian Screen Awards including Performance in a Leading Role, Comedy and Achievement in Music for Original Song.  Shot in the heart of Toronto’s Gay Village, this is the North American release. Canada I 91 minutes.

The film’s producers are Lindsay Blair Goeldner and Shant Joshi. Executive Producers include Alexandra Billings alongside, Sonya Di Rienzo, Aeschylus Poulos, and Ingrid Veninger. Co-Producers: Abdul Malik, Lauren Saarimaki.

Source: Cinephobia Releasing