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Listen in as Sophia talks about her new film Inside The Chinese Closet, LGBTQ rights here at home and in China, trust, transparency and why she’s still optimistic about the future.

TIFF and Human Rights Watch co-present the 13th annual Human Rights Watch Film Festival in Toronto, March 30 to April 7. 2016.


Andy devotes his days and nights to looking for a lesbian wife of convenience who could possibly bear his child; from online search to underground marriage markets, he is meeting all sorts of girls. Cherry has already married a gay man, but the quest for a baby proves to be a far more complex challenge. Will Andy and Cherry deny their own happiness and sexual orientation to satisfy their parents’ wishes? Inside The Chinese Closet follows Andy and Cherry in their search. Along the way, they clash with their parents’ hopes, their love partners and the partners of convenience. It is through these encounters that the film lays bare the challenges that confront gay people in China today.


Sophia Luvarà received her MSc with merit in Medical Biotechnology from the University of Turin, where she also studied for a PhD in Cancer Research, but in 2007 she discontinued her studies and moved to London to follow her passion for documentary filmmaking.

In 2008 she attended the Documentary Filmmaking course at the London Film Academy and subsequently directed a number of independent documentaries, including: The Great Mafia Orange Squeeze (2011, UK/Italy), about African immigrants who rioted against ‘Ndrangheta mafia oppression in a small town in the South of Italy. The Road to Fureidis (2011, UK), about Arab Israeli women, who receive training to increase their self-confidence and employability.

In 2013 Sophia spent two weeks embedded with soldiers on duty in Afghanistan for the MTV documentary Soldati – Missione Afganistan. She is currently co-directing and producing the feature length documentary ‘Ishmael’s forgotten children of Israel’ about Arab citizens of Israel, for the Foundation Media EdProject, where she is also a board member.

Inside The Chinese Closet is Sophia first feature length documentary, which she developed at the Documentary Campus Masterschool in 2011 and at the Crossing Borders in 2012 – Eurasia-Pacific documentary training scheme.