Family Secrets - Egyptian Film from Hany Fawzy
A scene from Egyptian film Family Secrets written and directed by Hany Fawzy Hany Fawzy

With Family Secrets, Hany Fawzy had hoped to make one of the first Egyptian films about homosexuality but said that censors would turn the film into one of simple friendship.

"His relationship will seem like a heterosexual relationship. It'll mess up the film," Fawzy told the Guardian. "You won't be able to understand the psychological dilemma of the character, or his relationship with others."

Family Secrets follows a young man in a homosexual relationship who visits five psychiatrists in an attempt to "cure" what society has taught him is a disease.

Despite containing no sexually explicit scenes, Egyptian censors have demanded 13 changes to the film.

Among scenes they wanted removed were a shot of lead character Marwan resting his head on the shoulder of another man and an important discussion about homosexuality between the two in bed.

While not illegal, homosexuality in Egypt is still taboo. Gay men and women have been the targets of police raids and are often disowned by their families.

Some gay Egyptians were concerned that the film would promote the idea that homosexuality was something to be ashamed of.

Ramy Youssef, regarded as the first Egyptian to come out on Twitter, said: "From what I have read it deals with homosexuality the way that everyone does – that it's a disease, and that we are not pleased with ourselves, that we want a cure."

Fifteen actors turned down the lead role before Mohammed Mahran agreed to take the part.

"We had two revolutions – but people's minds haven't changed," said Fawzy.

"People don't want to talk about the three taboos – politics, religion, or sex. Some are scaring us artists from making movies about these things and it forces the whole industry to work on silly topics to get their work shown."