2 min

Frame by frame

Pride documentary explores sense of community

PERSONAL CONNECTION. Filmmaker Paul Morralee hopes to highlight the value and purpose of Pride. Credit: Capital Xtra files

There are many different ways for Ottawa’s queers to explore and express their sense of community during this year’s Pride celebrations.

For filmmaker Paul Morralee, that expression and exploration comes through the sharp focus of a camera lens.

Morralee, who owns and operates the Ottawa-based video production company MorVision, has just completed work on a short documentary film that seeks to highlight the purpose and importance of Pride to Ottawa’s GLBT community.

“The reason [for] investigating the purpose of Pride is to look into the values that it presents to our community and what it does for our community,” he says. “And the only way I felt that I could know my community was to do something like this – and you don’t know unless you ask.”

The short film, titled Ottawa Pride, will be shown on Fri, Jul 9 at Centretown Movies in the Sparks St Mall before Pride Film Night’s feature presentation, Mambo Italiano.

Morralee says that as a newcomer to the city – he relocated to Ottawa about a year ago – the short documentary was the best way of familiarizing himself with the capital and its gay culture.

“It’s my tool for me to personally become more connected with my community,” he says. “Not to give the story away, but what I am hoping to do is stand-up articulations within the different parts of the community expressing my personal journey of coming to Ottawa.”

In addition to highlighting the value and purpose of Pride, Morralee says the film will also attempt to define “what our community is.”

“It’s a way of going out as objectively as possible to gather sentiments from people in the [queer] community as to what the community is,” he explains. “Because the community isn’t just a bar, it isn’t just a newspaper and it’s not the World Wide Web. What it is is a network of people that bring our community together and give us more values to be in our community. So, this documentary is out to explore [that].”

Morralee – who has worked on projects for CBC, TSN and CTV – says the idea for this film began to develop while working on a documentary about the Queer As Folk phenomenon in Manchester, England – the city where the original 1999 British series is based – and the effects the controversial program’s popularity had on the English city’s gay village.

“It was like straight people crashing into gay space. It was so in your face,” he says. “And this is basically where I began to do a little bit of an exploration into what is our community.”

Although Morralee says he has not yet completed the film, which will run about 10 to 15 minutes long, he is optimistic it will find a meaningful place among this year’s Pride celebrations.

“One of the biggest fears you have for a documentary is will it come together, will it happen?” Morralee says. “Hopefully, when people walk away from watching it, they’ll go, ‘Oh, there is something out there – there is a sense of community.'”


Fri, Jul 9.

Centretown Movies at the Sparks St Mall.

Screens before Mambo Italiano.