raves & reviews

Another Great Win!

The 2012 Gaybie for Best Documentary from TLA Releasing.



Best of the Festival in Indianapolis!

To read the full review in the Independent click here . It comes with the jury prize for best documentary at the Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival. In case you haven’t heard …. this brings our total number awards to seven, with a pretty even split between the ones which were given by the juries and those voted on by audiences. Here’s the details:

Image+Nation, Montreal (Jury); Fairy Tales, Calgary (Audience); Q Fest, Fort Worth (Audience) Out on Film, Atlanta (Audience) Three Dollar Bill, Seattle (Jury & Audience) and Indianapolis LGBT Film Fest (Jury).

See you at the movies.

Amos Lassen review May 2011.

Read the full review by Amos Lassen here.

Best Documentary at Fairy Tales Calgary

Our amazing experience at this festival was topped off with the audience award for best documentary. Here is one blogger’s take on Beyond Gay.

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Well, Wednesday was ‘Bring a Straight’ Night at the 12th Annual Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival and a lovely friend of mine asked me to attend. No way in hell I’d say ‘no’ that, which is how I ended up spending my Wednesday night sitting between two beautiful women, sharing popcorn and experiencing four incredible films….

First up was ‘Get Happy,’ an inspirational look at the life of Mark Payne. Hilarious and fascinating, the film featured footage of Mark at the age of 12 years old, impersonating his favourites (and mine): Judy, Liza, Barbra and Diana. By the age of 16, Mark’s Liza was the opening for Milton Berle and Bob Hope. Lovingly supported and raised by his mother and grandmother (she bought his first fabric and taught him to sew his costumes!), Mark turned his passion into a collaboration with Laura Mercier and is now an Emmy-winning makeup artist. Not bad for a skinny little boy from Texas with a love for divas.

That story of incredible passion led into ‘Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride,’ a documentary by Vancouver-based film-maker Bob Christie as he follows Pride organizers from around the world in their quest for awareness and equal rights. Led by Vancouver Pride Society President Ken Coolen, ‘Beyond Gay’ provides its viewers an honest look at the struggles bravely faced by the LGBT communities in countries where homosexuality either “doesn’t exist” or exists only for those who aren’t afraid of abuse, jail and/or death. Their stories are intense…One Jamaican man talks about what it’s like for gay men in Jamaica, describing the brutal murders of 13 of his friends, including at least one who was provoked and beaten by three police officers only to be handed over to homophobic spectators to finish the job. Jamaica is considered to be the most homophobic country in the world, but with stiff competition for that title.

Read More …

Xtra covers the Toronto premiere at Inside Out

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Read more

Victoria Film Festival 5 Star Review.

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Sat., Jan. 30, 7 p.m., Odeon

Wed., Feb. 3, 4:30 p.m., Empire Capitol 6

Canadian Gala Opening Presentation

Rating: 5

Is this really 2010? There are moments — mostly during footage captured in Asia and Eastern Europe — when you wouldn’t think so as you experience Bob Christie’s riveting and enlightening documentary on the politics and relevance of the global gay pride movement. On the plus side, Vancouver Pride Society parade director Ken Coolen’s globe-trotting journey to monitor Pride celebrations worldwide is a joyful, moving and amusing account of the progress made in the acceptance of sexual diversity in cities from Toronto and New York, birthplace of the gay liberation movement, to Sao Paulo, Brazil, home to the annual government-sponsored Pride festival that in 10 years has grown from an audience of 200 to three million.

Christie’s colourful overview is also a harsh and disturbing reminder, however, of ongoing, mind-boggling intolerance in places where homophobia is rampant (Jamaica is the world capital, according to Time). It’s shocking to learn, for instance, that archaic British colonial sodomy laws are still in place in Sri Lanka, where “curative rape” is sanctioned as a “cure” for lesbianism; that homosexuality carries stiff prison terms in some countries; and to witness protesters pelting Pride participants with eggs and tomatoes in Budapest, where gay clubs are firebombed. The most fascinating of the sequences — linked by graphics of a a ‘Freedometer’ charts each location’s tolerance levels — focus on gay rights activists risking their lives for the cause.

Risk-takers include charismatic Sri Lankan Equal Ground organizer Sahran Abeysundara, who peacefully protests his nation’s pride-parade ban by flying kites that feature the movement’s signature rainbow pattern. Another uplifting bit introduces Clare Diminyo, a lesbian teacher from Brighton, England, who persuades British authorities to fly Pride flags at their embassy in Riga, Latvia, a hotbed of homosexual oppression.

We also learn how Warsaw Equality Parade organizer Tomasz Baczkowski successfully forced Polish authorities to finally allow a Pride parade, with protection by 2,000 police officers, by taking his case to the European Union human rights tribunal.

The film’s most tense and gripping sequences, however, observe Russian organizer Nikolai Alekseev and comrades risking arrest and worse by arranging clandestine meetings to stage and as quickly disassemble a compact parade in Moscow, where the mayor has banned the Pride parade for years and rejected 155 applications for permits. This superb documentary, a festival must-see, is more than a call to action for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) community. It’s as much a plea for for freedom, respect and basic human rights for everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/entertainment/Victoria{5083d1959d6c3168bdec12a18fa4c7688766efde1501901f11480ad0647f3c60}20Film{5083d1959d6c3168bdec12a18fa4c7688766efde1501901f11480ad0647f3c60}20Festival{5083d1959d6c3168bdec12a18fa4c7688766efde1501901f11480ad0647f3c60}20Reviews/2503829/story.html#ixzz0hujnZ1tD

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Beyond Gay – (7:00 Sat., Jan. 30, Odeon; 4:30 Wed., Feb. 3, Cap 6) On the surface, making a documentary about various international pride marches could have just been the excuse for a big ol’ rainbow love-in but, in the skilled hands of director Bob Christie, Beyond Gay shines as one of the best documentaries on view at this year’s film fest. The cameras follow Vancouver Pride organizer Ken Coolen as he spends a year talking with organizers and participants at various global pride marches (Sao Paolo, Toronto, Moscow, Warsaw, New York City, Sri Lanka), some of whom are literally putting their lives on the line by showing their pride. Stylistically similar to last year’s hit doc RIP: A Remix Manifesto, this contemporary and engaging 85-minute piece owes more to the cinematic legacy of Ron Mann than anything Michael Moore; it also avoids stereotypes at every turn and is chock full of big ideas that leave you just itching to talk. Simply put, Beyond Gay is an important film that deserves as wide an audience as it can get.  —John Threlfall

The “Walk with Pride” Blog Project discovers Beyond Gay


“Walk with Pride” is a project to photograph and document gay pride parades around the globe. Our aim is to promote pride, empathy, and understanding on an international level, while highlighting the similarities and differences in gay rights and gay culture around the world.