When fellow Montreal digital freelancer Sandra Bagaria contacted me about working on the documentary The Amina Profile, I didn’t fully grasp her role in the production. Not only was she involved in the film’s digital strategy, she is the protagonist. When I sat down to watch it, I was blown away. Directed by Sophie Deraspe, the documentary recounts a relationship that Sandra developed online a few years ago, with a Syrian blogger and activist, known to the world as “A Gay Girl in Damascus”. In the midst of the Syrian uprising in 2011, their relationship evolved into a flurry of daily online communication, under the constant threat of surveillance and violence. Without giving away the entire story, suffice it to say that “Amina” was not who everyone thought she was.
The film’s producer esperamos films hired me to develop a digital editorial strategy to raise awareness about the documentary and respond to the many issues it raises, such as digital media ethics, virtuality and anonymity online, East-West politics, to name a few. In collaboration with cultural curator and editor Patti Schmidt, we created a blog to gather our editorial content, such as interviews with the key characters and team members, as well as updates on the film’s release at international festivals. The mandate also included social media community management, as well as Twitter data analysis using Nexalogy’s “NexaLive” tool. The film saw an upswing in visibility with an international premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2015, and is scheduled for theatrical release in Quebec in April 2015. Our digital strategy has allowed audiences to dig deeper into The Amina Profile, revealing the socio-political complexities behind this modern love story.