To be chosen as the official film crew for Pride Toronto this year was not only awesome (huge understatement here) but certainly, something to be proud of.
I’m not going to write about the exclusive moment we were given to film Justin Trudeau or talk about the disruption caused by Black Lives Matter. This look back, that will forever put a smile on my face, is about the people that collectively make Pride what it is and how this filmmaker rarely gets to work on something so simply complex.
The theme for this year’s film was “Love is Love”. Simple, effective but more than anything, unconditionally true. When Mathieu Chantelois, the new Executive Director at Pride Toronto met with us to discuss the approach he wanted to take, I could do nothing to hide the smile that grew throughout the discussion. Essentially, he wanted to capture the people that come to celebrate Pride and that more than anything else, focus on diversity. That’s pretty much it. No interviews, no soundbites and certainly no glorifying of any celebrity of any kind. Even the Prime Minister, the first ever to walk in a Pride parade, was to get no special treatment. There was to be one spotlight and it was to be shared by the beautiful people that came to Toronto in all of their colours, shapes and sizes.
For three days we mingled and interacted with people that arrived from all corners of Canada and abroad to celebrate one of this country’s largest festivals. From a pregnant woman to a same-sex family to a cowboy from Dallas, whenever we approached people to ask if they would mind holding a “Love is Love” sign in their hands, they did it happily and they held it proudly. They lent us their smiles and let us steal their kisses. Not the kind of thing most people would allow to be filmed, let alone in slo motion.
When we spotted Premiere Wynne as she made her way down the parade, we handed her a sign and like everyone before her, she held it in front of her without hesitation.
It’s no surprise that Wynne would show her support, but in what country can you just walk up to a government elected official of her stature, hand a sign and they gladly oblige? I don’t know, I suppose after his entourage twisted your body up into some strange kama sutra pretzel , Trump might hold up a “Love Is Hate” sign but I digress. At a time when the world is dealing with so much strife and opposition and xenophobia, I’m reminded once again why I’m so proud to be Canadian.
As I sit in the edit suite now, I find myself in the unenviable position of making sure that the Pride film we deliver can even remotely live up to the energy and emotion we experienced at Pride. That we capture and properly represent the beautiful people that participated and held that sign in the air like ambassadors to a global cause.
“Love is Love” folks. It’s true. No matter how you try to spin it or argue it, no truer words can be said that binds us all. After all, there really is only one race, a human one.