2022 Inside Out LGBTQ+ Film Festival | Documentaries

Inside Out is a Toronto Film Festival focusing on LGBTQ+ voices and stories. It features international titles and domestic titles. Toronto Guardian is spotlighting two amazing Canadian-made documentaries screening at the festival.

Framing Agnes

(Virtual Screening noon May 26th)

Framing Agnes is a documentary discussing and investigating the lives and experiences of trans people. The name’s sake and re-enactments emerge from a case study of interviews with transitioning people in the late 1950s by Dr. Harold Garfinkel of UCLA. Agnes is the first sociological case study of a transitioning person. However, after Garfinkel died in 2011, two grad students categorizing his archives found not only Agnes’s original file but eight other interviewees as well.

Framing Agnes

Framing Agnes re-enacts these patients’ interviews while intermittently showing us the BTS of those shoots, the interpretation and experience of the actors, and scholar Julien Gill-Paterson’s takes on the historical context. Paterson’s interpretations of the history, transcripts and today’s culture provide the novice viewer with the information to properly comprehend the significance of these archives, of these people, of this history.

Chase Joynt is one of the grad students to find the forgotten archives of Dr Harold Garfinkel; he is also the director, co-writer, and interviewer in the documentary. The re-enactment of the transcripts is presented as a talk show with Joynt as the host – a play on the prevalent meaning talk shows have for the trans community and their progressive visibility in mainstream culture. Chase Joynt’s presence is prominent throughout the feature. His openness to the experiences of the trans actors portraying the archive interviewees creates a warm environment for them to be vulnerable.

Framing Agnes

The standout performances are from Zachary Drucker (Agnes) and Angelica Ross (Georgia). Zachary Drucker’s Agnes is the misunderstood trans icon; she is confident and sly – she only answers the questions she wants. Angelica Ross’s Georgia is similar, but she’s black whereas Agnes is white. Ross provides that confidence while also showing vulnerability in her movement and fidgeting – Georgia encompasses the intersectional history Garfinkel’s original publication lacked. Her existence and her archive contribute to a much larger context of the growing history of trans people.

Framing Agnes does a beautiful job bringing life to people we should have met long ago and teaches us a history often forgotten or ignored.

Pat Rocco Dared

(Virtual & In-Person Screenings June 4th)

Pat Rocco Dared is a documentary about the late queer activist photographer and filmmaker Pat Rocco of the late 1960s and 70s. Filmmaker Charlie David guides us through our growing understanding of this influential man and takes us through the various influential films that helped push boundaries and change laws for LGBTQ+ people.

The documentary features interviews with Pat Rocco, his original footage and photographs, people he knew and worked with, Toronto’s own trans activist Syrus Marcus Ware, and historian Whitney Strub.

Despite all of Pat Rocco’s accomplishments and recognitions, pop culture often overlooks his influence as a gay nude erotica filmmaker, the first to put gay erotica in cinemas across the United States. He’s known for his romanticism, sentimentalism, and long, lingering passionate kisses.

Pat Rocco was the first President of Pride. He filmed the first Pride parade; he was instrumental in the sculpting of how we understand the Pride Parade today. His activism was raw and unyielding – he filmed the truth and showed the beauty in it. Pat Rocco worked closely with Harvey Milk; the first only gay man elected to public office.

Pat Rocco’s body of nude films prevalently showed the joy and happiness of gay love, not Hollywood’s preferred tragic gay narrative. Pat Rocco’s work was provocative and pushed the boundaries so much so that he kept a lawyer on site.

Pat Rocco Dared shares the stories of Pat Rocco’s successes and intentions, his life and his work. Directors Bob Christie and Morris Chapdelaine carve an intricate picture of who Pat Rocco was with love and admiration for a man who inspired so many and brought joy to a community constantly fighting for their right to be happy and simply themselves.



About Isobel Grieve 45 Articles
Isobel is a bisexual Toronto-based writer. She has a B.A.H. in English and Media & Cinema Studies from the University of Guelph and a Postgraduate Certificate from the Humber College Television Writing and Producing program. Isobel writes about Arts and Culture; you can follow her @IsobelGrieve on Twitter.