Frameline47 Interview: “Coming Around” Director Sandra Itäinen Talks about Her Debut Documentary Showing June 22 at the Castro Theatre
“We are here. We are queer. We are Muslim. We are both, relentlessly without contradiction and without apology.” Eman is a brilliant academic, a strong and empowered woman, and active in her queer Muslim community. She speaks on panels, writes and directs a queer play, and is an all-around badass. That is, except when she goes home to Missouri to visit her traditional Muslim mother, whom she has yet to come out to. When she starts dating a cisgender man, it seems as though her worlds can finally coexist, but can she live up to the traditional expectations?
This fresh take on coming out eloquently avoids the trope of vilifying the religious mother to a depiction that is nuanced, thoughtful, and always comes back to shared respect and love. Fresh off its world premiere at the Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival and executive produced by Frameline alum, Fawzia Mirza (Noor & Layla, Frameline45) and Marc Smolowitz (Who I Am Not, Frameline47), Coming Around reminds us that coming out is anything but straightforward.
Sandra Itäinen (Director, Producer, Editor) is a Finnish film director, producer, and editor based in New York City. Sandra’s directorial feature debut COMING AROUND premiered at Thessaloniki 2023, nominated for the Golden Alexander in the Newcomers Competition. Documentary editing credits include TOMBOY (SXSW, 2020) and award-winning KELET (DocPoint, 2020). In 2021, she directed the short documentary series NOITAPIIRIT (eng. COVENS) to critical acclaim for Finnish YLE.
Sandra’s first documentary short THE WEAVEOLOGIST (2016) screened at multiple film festivals, among others DOC NYC. She is the associate producer of DARK MONEY (dir. Kimberly Reed) which premiered at Sundance 2018, nominated for Best Documentary Feature. Before moving into film, Sandra worked as a journalist for Finnish YLE. She works to amplify women’s voices through filmmaking and focuses mainly on themes revolving around identity, family and mental health, through a millennial lens. She holds an MFA in Documentary Film from the School of Visual Arts and an MSS from the University of Helsinki.
Coming Around will be shown Thursday, June 22, 1 PM at the Castro Theatre and available to stream June 24 — July 2. For more information and to purchase tickets go to: www.frameline.org.