A Balloon For Allah (2011) March 8, 2011, NRK


When Norwegian-Turkish filmmaker Nefise was a child, she used to send balloon letters to Allah. Now she has decided to send a new balloon, to challenge the role of women in the Muslim culture. Following her grandmother’s “Sufi” path, she embarks on a quest to discover the essence of Islam. The film moves between her actual journey and her dreams. She experiences the diversity of Cairo, Istanbul and Oslo by having tea with Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi, conversing with 90-year-old author Gamal Al-Banna about his life and meeting a young Islamic extremist. As she strolls through the maze of doors, it dawns on her that maybe Islam is not the only source of the problem – that there may be a link between the three Abrahamic religions and the oppression of women.

A Balloon for Allah is Nefise Özkal Lorentzen’s second installment in her Islam trilogy, the first one being Gender Me from 2008, which focused on homosexuality. She has concluded the trilogy with Manislam a film about masculinity in Islam.


Production Company Integral Film AS
Producer Jørgen Lorentzen
Director Nefise Özkal Lorentzen
Original Idea & Manuscript Nefise Özkal Lorentzen
Cinematographer Nils Petter Lotherington
Editor Inge-Lise Langfeldt
Composer Morten Haslerud
Animator Simon M. Valentine
Researcher & Content Consultant Wael Gallab
Film Consultant Maria Fuglevaag Warsinska-Varsi
(Norwegian Film Institute)
NRK Project Leader / Co-Producer Marie Sjo
Sound Designer Håkon Lammetun (Lydhodene AS)
Post Production Sound Frode Løes Hvatum, Fanny Wadman (Lydhodene AS)
Sound Recordist Anders Mørk (Lydhodene AS)
Second Unit Photographers Nefise Özkal Lorentzen, Morten Haslerud, Hilde Malme, Ezra Gelmeydun Pertan, Lobna Labib, Koray Kesik
External Producer Lobna Labib (Video Cairo, Egypt)
First Assistant Director Morten Haslerud
Second Assistant Director Simon M. Valentine
Third Assistant Director Esra Gelmeydun Pertan
Assistant Editor Morten Haslerud
Storyboard Artist Simon M. Valentine
Online & Color Correction Gudmundur Gunnarsson
Lighting Equipment Christian Quartz
Voice-over Nefise Özkal Lorentzen
Norwegian Voice-over Coach Elisabeth Endsjø
English Voice-over Coach Sarah Chanderia
Archive Stills Scanpix
Harem Postcard “Arabian Woman With The Yachmak”
Archive Footage ABC, NRK, Sexhibition (Nils Ally)
Additional Music ”Ezan” (performed by Namaa Al Ward & Hege Rimestad)
Green Screen Studio Zone 5 Studios
Developed by The Norwegian Film Institute
Workshop ”Route To Forum 2009”

Funded by

The Norwegian Film Institute, Maria Fuglevaag Warsinska-Varsi
NRK, Marie Sjo
The Freedom Of Expression Foundation
Scheiblers Legat
Norwegian Audio Visual Fund
Integral Film AS



XVI Muestra de Cine realizado por mujeres de Huesca. 2016, Spain

Nordic Film Screenings, Colombia

Q Film Festival, Jakarta, Indonesia
World Film Awards, Jakarta, Indonesia
International Film Festival “For Spirituality, religion& Visionary”Jakarta, Indonesia
Int’l Women’s Film Festival in Seoul, South Korea

Women Make Waves, International Taiwan Film Festival, Taiwan
Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, Ohio, USA
The International EuroArap Film Festival Amal, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration, Equality, Jakarta, Indonesia
Transatlantyk Poznan International Film and Music Festival, Poland
Madrid Film festival, Spain
Non-violence Film Festival, Ontario,Canada
Nominated to History Maker Award, NYC, USA
IAWRT International Asian Women Film Festival, 8th March, New Delhi, India
IAWRT International Asian Women Film Festival, Goa, India
IAWRT International Asian Women Film Festival, Calicut, India
IAWRT International Asian Women Film Festival, Pondicherry, India
5th Vasakh film festival, Pakistan
Scandinavian Film Festival in LA, USA
DOCNZ Documentary Edge Festival, New Zealand
See – The Brighton Documentary Film Festival, UK
Women’s International Film & Art Festival, Miami, USA
Minneapolis – St. Paul International Film Festival
Samsung Women’s International Film Festival, Chennai, India

IDFA, Panaroma: Reflecting Images, Nederland
Int. Association of Women in Radio and TV, Malaysia IAWRT honorable mentioned
Rhode Island Film Festival, Providence, RI, USA Ambassador Grand Prize
Crystal Place International Film festival, London, UK Best documentary award
Marbella Film Festival, Spain
Emmentaler Film Festival, Switzerland
Human Doc International Film Festival, Poland
Flying Broom International Women’s Film festival, Turkey
Unspoken Human Rights Film Festival, Utica, NY, USA
Culture and Cultures International Film Festival, France
Radar Hamburg International Film Festival, Hamburg, Germany
Signesde Nuit International Film Festival, Paris, France
Malatya International Film Festival, Turkey


World Film Awards, Indonesia – Best Director
Film Festival for Spirituality, Religion & Visionary, Indonesia – Short Documentary Award of Excellence international

International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration & Equality, Indonesia – Jury Award
International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration & Equality, Indonesia – Best Documentary

Rhode Island Film Festival, USA – Ambassador Award
Crystal Place Film Festival, UK – Best Documentary
International Association of Women in Radio and TV, Malaysia – AWRT Honorable Mention