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#InsideOut2023 Review: Before I Change My Mind

June 3, 2023

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

The 2023 Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival runs from May 25th to June 4th in Toronto, more information on tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

Set in 1987, Before I Change My Mind follows Robin (Vaughan Murrae) a gender non-conforming kid who has moved to Alberta from Spokane, Washington with their single dad (Matthew Rankin). Robin is instantly the odd one out at their new school, with other kids at first trying to figure out if they are even a boy or a girl. But Robin starts to feel an odd kinship with school bully Carter (Dominic Lippa), and tries to befriend him, which is complicated by Izzy (Lacey Oake), the girl who comes between them.

The feature debut of writer-director Trevor Anderson, who co-wrote the script with Fish Griwkowsky, Before I Change My Mind mainly works due to the film’s unabashedly ‘80s vibes. We get cutaways to home video footage and a fun throwback soundtrack. There’s also a very amusing running gag involving the staging of a musical about Mary Magdalene because the local theatre couldn’t get the rights to Jesus Christ Superstar, with Anderson stealing scenes in a supporting role as the flamboyant musical director.

Through the somewhat volatile friendship that develops between Robin and Carter, the film explores themes of bullying and internalized homophobia. That said, Anderson also struggles to stick the film’s landing at the end, with a last act pivot that doesn’t really work; the film tries to go dark, but doesn’t sell the tonal shift in a way that necessarily feels believable. It ends up feeling a bit too over the top (perhaps meant as camp) instead of probing as deep as it could have. But there are enough positives to outweigh the negatives.

If the film is a bit scrappy and cheesy at times, it also has a sort of charm to it, and works best as a kinda shaggy hangout movie about a misfit kid befriending the school bully, including a formative field trip to the West Edmonton Mall. Murrae, a non-binary actor, carries the film with a charming performance, taking us through a number of comedic and dramatic beats. Despite its flaws, this is a frequently entertaining little film that captures enough of a fun ‘80s aesthetic to keep it enjoyable.

Screenings: Saturday, June 3rd, 9:15 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 3. Tickets can be purchased here.

#InsideOut2023 Review: Golden Delicious

June 3, 2023

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2023 Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival runs from May 25th to June 4th in Toronto, more information on tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

The Canadian coming-of-age drama Golden Delicious centres around Jake (Cardi Wong), a Chinese-Canadian teenager in his last year of high school in Vancouver, who is facing pressure from his dad George (Ryan Mah) to become a basketball star. George is trying to live out his own failed dreams of playing professional basketball through his son, but Jake is struggling to live up to the expectations of his masculine father.

This is partially due to Jake being closeted gay. While his girlfriend of two years, Valerie (Parmiss Sehat), is begging to finally go all the way, he is more interested in Aleks (Chris Carson), the new boy who has moved in across the street. Aleks is openly gay and loves playing basketball, which ignites a newfound passion in Jake as he starts to come to terms with his own sexuality.

The feature directorial debut of filmmaker Jason Karman, working from a screenplay by Gorman Lee, Golden Delicious hues closely to the coming-of-age (and coming out) genre, but does so with feeling and a sense of cultural specificity. The story sensitively explores the push and pull within immigrant families of trying to live up to parental expectations. In the main subplot, Jake’s mother (Leeah Wong) resents the long hours she spends working in the family restaurant, while his sister (Claudia Kai) loves to cook and wants to work in the kitchen, but their parents don’t want her following the same path as them.

If Golden Delicious is a somewhat formula-driven film that cycles through a number of beats we have seen before (right down to the possibly queer-coded homophobic school jock who bullies Jake), it’s a testament to the good performances and universality of these themes that the story remains engaging across roughly two hours. It’s a consistently entertaining film that offers are a number of undeniably rewarding moments.

Screenings: Saturday, June 3rd, 11:45 AM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Sunday, June 4th until 11:59 PM – Virtual (across Ontario). Tickets can be purchased here.

New This Week (06/02/2023): Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Bones of Crows, & More!

June 2, 2023

By John Corrado

New releases for the week of June 2nd, 2023.

Theatrical Releases:

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Wide Release): The highly anticipated sequel to the Oscar-winning 2018 animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Across the Spider-Verse has been drawing universal praise from those who’ve already seen it. I’ve heard it even exceeds the first one (which I enjoyed quite a bit) in terms of its imaginative storytelling and dazzling visuals. I’m excited to check it out as soon as I can.

Bones of Crows (Limited Release): This ambitious Canadian drama from writer-director Marie Clements, which had its world premiere at TIFF last year, charts multiple decades in the life of a Cree woman from Manitoba who survived Canada’s residential school system. It’s a tough watch (Clements depicts the horrors and abuse that took place in these institutions and the lingering trauma of survivors), but one that is carried by fine performances, with Clements employing an interesting narrative approach that freely jumps back and forth in time. (Full Review)

More Releases: The Boogeyman (Wide), Close to Vermeer (Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema), Joyland (June 5th-TIFF Bell Lightbox)

Streaming Releases:

A Beautiful Life (Netflix), Astérix & Obélix: The Middle Kingdom (Netflix), Medellin (Prime Video), BPM (Beats Per Minute) (Mubi), Knock at the Cabin (June 3rd-Prime Video)

Review: Bones of Crows

June 2, 2023

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Written and directed by Marie Clements, Bones of Crows is an ambitious Canadian drama that follows the life of a residential school survivor over many years, and the scars that remain from the trauma that she has experienced.

The film spans multiple decades in the life of Aline Spears (played by Grace Dove, with Summer Testawich portraying her as a child in flashbacks and Carla-Rae in flash-forwards), a Cree woman from Manitoba, with the story freely jumping back and forth between different points in time.

We go from 1942 with Aline getting married to Adam (Phillip Lewitski) in Montreal before he ships off to London for the war, to 1932 when she is a student at the residential school and known as a piano prodigy, who is afforded “special privileges” by her piano teacher Thomas  (Jonathan Whitesell) and Father Jacobs (Rémy Girard).

These flashbacks, showing how Aline and her two younger siblings were taken from their parents (Glen Gould and Michelle Thrush) and placed in the care of the Catholic Church, provide context for what she is experiencing later in life. Clements is sure to highlight the abject cruelty of these institutions. In one scene, Aline is forced to play piano as Father Jacobs shares a feast with other representatives from the Catholic Church, and brags about keeping the students on a meagre diet of rations to carry out scientific experiments on starvation.

The story itself is a massive undertaking by Clements, as it not only spans nearly a century but also jumps from Manitoba to Montreal, Toronto to London. During the war, Aline is hired as a translator by the Canadian Air Force due to her ability to speak Cree, noting the irony of how the same government that tried to erase her language now views her as an asset for still being able to speak it.

By constantly shifting focus and going back and forth like this, Clements is able to show how traumatic memories continue to linger and resurface, including several moments when scenes bleed into partial flashbacks as the events that characters are experiencing in their present lives trigger something from their past. It’s a tough film, but one with a through-line of resilience, showing the moments of mercy from others that allowed Aline to endure.

There are plans to release an extended version of the movie as a five-part miniseries that will expand the narrative even further. As such, Bones of Crows does at times play like a series that has been truncated into a roughly two hour film, which does strip some development from supporting characters and can make it feel more like a collection of sequences showing the horrors that Aline has experienced. But strong performances and a number of stirring moments save this from being a Heritage Minutes-style history lesson.

In addition to scenes showing the abuse that took place in residential schools (fair warning, the film is disturbing to watch at points), Clements has also crafted a story about survival and resilience in the face of a system that was designed to erase entire cultures. The film is carried by fine performances from its cast, including the three actresses portraying Aline at different points in her life, as Clements conjures some startling and haunting images throughout. The last act brings the story into present day, as the final moments offer a sobering look at the lingering impact of the trauma that survivors and families have endured.

Bones of Crows opens exclusively in theatres on June 2nd. It’s being distributed in Canada by Elevation Pictures.

#InsideOut2023 Review: 20,000 Species of Bees

May 30, 2023

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2023 Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival runs from May 25th to June 4th in Toronto, more information on tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

The Spanish coming of age drama 20,000 Species of Bees, which won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, is a portrait of a young transgender girl growing up in a world that doesn’t always see her as she sees herself.

Directed by Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren, the film introduces us to Coco (Sofía Otero), an eight-year-old who for the first few scenes is pretty indistinguishable from any other girl. She has long hair and paints her nails, but other family members still refer to her as a boy, despite how she presents herself. At home, they have taken to referring to her by the nickname Coco, but other family members still use her birth name Aitor, and ask why her hair is so long.

The film is mainly set in the countryside of Basque County, where she goes to stay with her sculptor mother Ane (Patricia López Arnaiz) and two siblings over the summer, to visit her grandma Lita (Itziar Lazkano) and their mostly female extended family. Through this, Solaguren’s tender drama is able to explore gender dysphoria from the perspective of a character who doesn’t really know the words yet, but innately knows this feeling of being seen differently from how you feel inside.

This theme of identity and wanting your body to match how you feel inside, mainly so that others will see you in this way, is fascinatingly explored through a child’s eye view in the film. The biggest confusion that Coco is feeling comes from not having others simply address her as a girl. Ane tries to be supportive, reminding Coco at one point that there are no boy’s or girl’s toys and she can like whatever she wants, but is also facing pressure from other family members to force her child back into being Aitor, and being made to feel like it is somehow her fault.

Coco is still searching for a name that fits her (at one point she stops identifying with either name, and starts insisting that she doesn’t have one instead), and expresses discomfort with situations where she will have to wear boy’s clothes or might have to reveal herself, such as swimming and having to use the change room. She is at her freest when exploring the beehives with her aunt Lourdes (Ane Gabarain, in a wonderful supporting role), a beekeeper who starts bringing her out into the fields.

Lourdes very much follows this young girl’s lead in how she identifies herself, and these sequences, which lend the film its name, are some of the best. This is a slow-burn film (especially at a sometimes meandering 127 minutes), but it’s one that takes its time to sensitively explore a child’s gender identity journey. There is also some deeper family drama involving tensions between Coco’s parents, and the legacy of her late grandfather who was a prolific sculptor, which again is often shown from the perspective of a child.

Playing in a similar key as Celine Sciamma’s remarkable early film Tomboy, 20,000 Species of Bees is a naturalistic film that is guided by a wonderfully nuanced performance from Otero, who subtly portrays her character’s changes in mood around how she is being identified. The film is very patient in how it unfolds, but also quite rewarding, and at its best when simply capturing moments that allows us to this young protagonist’s deepening sense of self-awareness.

Screenings: Tuesday, May 30th, 9:15 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; May 31st to June 4th at 11:59 PM – Virtual (across Ontario). Tickets can be purchased here.

4K Ultra HD Review: Transformers: 6-Movie SteelBook Collection

May 30, 2023

By John Corrado

This week, Paramount Home Entertaining is releasing all six Transformers movies (the five Michael Bay flicks as well as the Bumblebee spinoff) on 4K Ultra HD in a limited edition SteelBook collection.

The six films included in the set are Bay’s Transformers (2007), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), and director Travis Knight’s Bumblebee (2018).

The packaging itself is the main draw of this collection. The SteelBooks all have a matte finish to them with colourful, matching artwork, each one featuring a different character on the front cover and the corresponding number of the film. They each hold both a 4K and Blu-ray disc.

The six SteelBook cases are held inside a sturdy, steely grey cardboard box, decorated with the Autobots logo on the front and a red “TF” on the back. The box flips open with a cardboard flap, that folds over and is secured closed by a magnet (the cases are slipped in right next to each other without any barriers, which could cause some scratching, though I so far haven’t noticed any issues). A collectible Autobots decal is also slipped inside the case with the first film.

While the films themselves vary in quality (Bay’s first one from 2007 is pretty good, and I remember enjoying Bumblebee, but the other four sequels are wildly hit and miss, with Revenge of the Fallen being the weakest), this is an attractive and nicely packaged set for fans of the franchise. It also ties in to the release of the latest sequel Transformers: Rise of the Beasts on June 9th.

Bonus Features (4K Ultra HD):

There are a number of bonus features spread across the set’s dozen discs, all listed below from the press release. Digital copy codes are also included for all six films.


Disc 1 – 4K Ultra HD

  • Feature Film
  • Commentary by director Michael Bay

Disc 2 – Blu-ray

  • Our World
  • Their War
  • More Than Meets The Eye

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:

Disc 1 – 4K Ultra HD

  • Feature Film
  • Commentary by Michael Bay, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman

Disc 2 – Blu-ray

  • The Human Factor: Exacting Revenge of the Fallen
  • A Day with Bay: Tokyo
  • 25 Years of TRANSFORMERS
  • Deconstructing Visual Bayhem
  • Deleted/Alternate Scenes
  • The AllSpark Experiment
  • Giant Effing Movie
  • Linkin Park – New Divide
  • The Matrix of Marketing

Transformers: Dark of the Moon:

Disc 1 – 4K Ultra HD

  • Feature Film

Disc 2 – Blu-ray

  • Above and Beyond: Exploring Dark of the Moon
  • Uncharted Territory: NASA’s Future Then and Now
  • Deconstructing Chicago: Multi-Angle Sequences
  • The Art of Cybertron
  • The Dark of the Moon Archive
  • The Matrix of Marketing

Transformers: Age of Extinction:

Disc 1 – 4K Ultra HD

  • Feature Film

Disc 2 – Blu-ray

  • Bay on Action
  • Evolution Within Extinction—The Making of TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
  • Just Another Giant Effin’ Movie
  • A Spark of Design
  • T.J. Miller: Farm Hippie
  • Trailers

Transformers: The Last Knight:

Disc 1 – 4K Ultra HD

  • Feature Film

Disc 2 – Blu-ray

  • Merging Mythologies
  • Climbing the Ranks
  • The Royal Treatment: TRANSFORMERS in the UK
  • Motors and Magic
  • Alien Landscape: Cybertron
  • One More Giant Effin’ Movie


Disc 1 – 4K Ultra HD

  • Feature Film

Disc 2 – Blu-ray

  • Feature Film
  • Sector 7 Archive
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Bee Vision: The TRANSFORMERS Robots of Cybertron
  • Bringing BUMBLEBEE to the Big Screen

Transformers: 6-Movie SteelBook Collection is a Paramount Home Entertainment release.

Street Date: May 30th, 2023

4K Ultra HD Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

May 30, 2023

By John Corrado

Please note that this is a review of the Blu-ray release of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. For my full thoughts on the film itself, you can read my original review right here.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, the movie based on the classic fantasy role-playing game, is being released on 4K Ultra HD this week following its run in theatres.

Directed by the Game Night duo of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the film follows Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), a pair of petty thieves who escape from jail and team up on a quest to rescue Edgin’s daughter (Chloe Coleman). The cast is rounded out by Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Regé-Jean Page and a scene-stealing Hugh Grant.

As I wrote in my review, “Daley and Goldstein are able to inject humour into the film without sacrificing its place in the fantasy adventure genre.” They bring a lightness of touch to the material that makes this a fun reimagining of the game. It offers a lot of callbacks for DnD fans, while also working just as well as an entertaining and lighthearted adventure movie for those who are less familiar with the game itself.

The film didn’t do as well in theatres as I had hoped, but it’s one that I would recommend checking out at home, and I can imagine it gaining more of a following in the years to come. The 4K Ultra HD disc offers a satisfying image, that allows the rich colours of the film to stand out.

Film Rating: ★★★ (out of 4)

Bonus Features (4K Ultra HD):

The 4K disc boasts “over an hour of bonus content,” mainly consisting of behind the scenes featurettes that are fun to go through. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package, which ships with a slipcover.

From Dice to Dragons: Honoring the Lore (11 minutes, 15 seconds): The directors and cast members talk about their own histories with the game, balancing humour in the film, and crafting the complicated “portal heist” set-piece.

Rogues’ Gallery: The Heroes of Dungeons & Dragons (11 minutes, 24 seconds): The directors and cast discuss their individual characters, and the different game-inspired archetypes they fall into.

Fantastic Foes (7 minutes, 3 seconds): Like the previous piece, only focused on the antagonist characters; Daisy Head’s Sofina and Hugh Grant’s Forge.

The Bestiary (9 minutes, 21 seconds): A look at the different creatures featured in the film, and how they were brought to life through a mix of makeup, practical effects, and puppeteering.

Foraging the Forgotten Realms (8 minutes, 7 seconds): Production designer Ray Chan takes us through the different sets and locations in the film, and the inspiration behind some of the designs.

Broadswords, Battle-axes & Badass Brawls (8 minutes, 40 seconds): A look at some of the stunts and the weapons that were designed for the film.

Gag Reel (6 minutes, 51 seconds)

Deleted and Extended Scenes (10 minutes, 35 seconds)

Gorg’s Arrival – Extended (55 seconds)

Ice Breaker – Extended (1 minute, 31 seconds)

Harassing Holga – Deleted (1 minute, 9 seconds)

Eating Ash – Extended (14 seconds)

Harper’s Sanctuary – Extended (29 seconds)

Corpse 6 – Extended (6 minutes, 15 seconds)

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. It’s 134 minutes and rated PG.

Street Date: May 30th, 2023

DVD Review: Assassin

May 30, 2023

By John Corrado

★½ (out of 4)

Since Bruce Willis has announced his retirement from acting due to his diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia, the film Assassin serves as his final role. As such, the movie is being sold under his name, but Willis is merely a supporting player in the sci-fi flick, which offers a muddled, disappointing hodge podge of influences from The Matrix to Inception.

Willis plays Valmora, a shadowy figure who is leading a covert military operation of assassins who use microchip technology to “hack” other people’s minds. By implanting a worm-like device in their brain stems, “soldiers” are able to remotely take over their bodies and carry out dangerous missions, from a bathtub in a warehouse.

When Alexa (Nomzamo Mbatha) finds out that her veteran husband Sebastian (Mustafa Shakir) was killed during one of these missions, she is brought in to finish what he started, by assuming another woman’s identity and taking out Adrian (Dominic Purcell), the crime lord responsible for his death.

The film serves as the feature directorial debut of Jesse Atlas, who is expanding upon his 2017 short film Let Them Die Like Lovers. The screenplay, which Atlas co-wrote with Aaron Wolfe (who also co-wrote the short), tells a confusing and overly convoluted story that feels poorly explained, with hard to follow internal logic. The film feels rushed at 87 minutes, like it’s missing a lot of scenes that would have helped explain the premise and deepen the relationships between the characters.

This is an example of a first feature that tries to be overly ambitious, but just isn’t very good, building to one big eye-roll of an ending. It feels like it never rises above being a pallid imitation of its influences, including some vague body horror elements borrowed from early Cronenberg. The action scenes appear somewhat amateurish in their staging, and fail to offer much excitement, with Willis in particular sadly feeling like he isn’t given enough to do. It’s a real pity that this will very likely be his final film.

Bonus Features (DVD):

The DVD includes no bonus features.

Assassin is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. It’s 87 minutes and rated 14A.

Release Date: May 30th, 2023

#InsideOut2023 Review: Supporting Our Selves

May 29, 2023

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2023 Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival runs from May 25th to June 4th in Toronto, more information on tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

In the documentary Supporting Our Selves, director Lulu Wei looks at the history of Community One, a Toronto organization that was founded in 1980 as the Gay Community Appeal. The film charts how the group has evolved over the years as the city’s queer community has become more diverse, showing the important work that they continue to do with organizations like The 519 community centre and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

Wei’s film takes us through the history of the group, which was started out of necessity by those within the queer community to help each other through Toronto’s bar and bathhouse raids, as well as the AIDS crisis. They raised money by holding private “Saving Our Selves” fundraisers that were held in people’s homes, and held annual “Fruit Cocktails,” which were popular fundraising performances with the emcees dressed as fruit (I remember seeing some Community One representatives march in these costumes at Pride last year, so it’s nice to get the backstory).

Wei interviews founders of the group including Harvey Hamburg and Rosemary Barnes, and shows how they transformed into Community One, mainly to meet the needs of the city’s LGBTQ+ community as it continued to grow and include more identity groups. This push for more diversity came from figures like leZlie Lee Kam, a queer activist from Trinidad who has long fought to make the city’s queer community more inclusive for people of colour, and is now focusing on finding support for queer seniors.

Wei balances this with the perspectives of younger folks like Jay Baldwin, who runs the Facebook group Disabled Queer and Fabulous and is advocating for more accessibility in queer spaces, and Christopher Nkambwe, a Ugandan refugee who came to Canada to live openly as a transwoman and is working to help other African refugees.

In her previous documentary There’s No Place Like This Place Anyplace, Wei focused on the history of the now-shuttered store Honest Ed’s, and explored Toronto’s increasing gentrification. While exploring a different subject, Supporting Our Selves serves as an interesting companion piece of sorts, with Wei already establishing herself as a needed historian of forgotten aspects of our city’s history.

Wei also touches on different flashpoints in Toronto, such as when BLM activists shut down the Pride Parade in 2016 to protest against the involvement of uniformed police officers, actions that are still hotly debated within the LGBTQ+ community (including by Hamburg and Barnes in the film). Told through an engaging collection of personal stories (full disclosure, there are a lot of familiar faces of people I’ve crossed paths with), Supporting Our Selves is an important document of Toronto’s queer history.

Screenings: Tuesday, May 30th, 6:45 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1 (Centrepiece Gala); May 31st to June 4th at 11:59 PM – Virtual (across Ontario). Tickets can be purchased here.

#InsideOut2023 Review: Commitment to Life

May 27, 2023

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2023 Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival runs from May 25th to June 4th in Toronto, more information on tickets and showtimes can be found right here.

In his informative documentary Commitment to Life, filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz (I Am Devine, Tab Hunter Confidential), explores the history of the organization AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), which was started as a way to raise money and provide support to those with AIDS, while battling social stigmas and a lack of government funding.

Through its mix of talking head interviews with those who lived through this era, as well as archival footage, Schwarz’s film offers an engaging oral history of this group (APLA Health helped produce the project), shown through the larger context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic during the 1980s and ’90s. The filmmaker takes us through the heartbreaking early days of the epidemic when it claimed the lives of so many gay men, with rampant misinformation causing people to be shunned and denied care, to the huge breakthroughs in treatment that have allowed people to live with the illness.

The film looks at how it took the involvement of celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor, to help sway public opinion and gain vital support for people, at a time when lawmakers from the “moral majority” stoked fear and gave in to bigotry (including pushing for “mandatory quarantines”). Schwarz shows how pop culture events such as Rock Hudson revealing that he had AIDS, televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker’s famous interview with Rev. Steve Pieters (one of the film’s subjects) who had AIDS, and Tom Hanks’s Oscar-winning performance in Philadelphia, were key turning points in shifting public awareness around the disease.

AIDS Project Los Angeles became famous for their annual Commitment to Life galas, which attracted the involvement of wealthy donors and celebrity guests, such as Taylor and David Geffen. But Schwarz’s film also acknowledges some blindspots of APLA in meeting the needs of the Black, Asian, Latino and transgender communities who were disproportionately impacted by the epidemic, with more stigmas and even less support. This is where figures such as Jewel Thais-Williams, owner of the first Black disco club Catch One, and trans activist Bamby Salcedo, came in.

The documentary is perhaps most valuable as a testament to community action in response to government inadequacy, with a number of compelling stories revealing how it took the grassroots work of those in the queer community to support each other through this time. The film is densely packed at nearly two hours, but plays with a number of small emotional payoffs that cumulatively add up to something that is both educational and emotionally powerful.

Screenings: Saturday, May 27th, 2:00 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 2; May 28th to June 4th at 11:59 PM – Virtual (across Ontario). Tickets can be purchased here.

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