Some Calgary Gay History Project readers might know that historian Kevin Allen has a Fernie connection and helped found a film festival there many years ago. The Reel Canadian Film Festival‘s focus is on Canadian filmmakers and runs January 28-30, 2022; it is completely online due to the pandemic. Tickets for the festival are available to viewers in Alberta and BC—this year’s festival has both queer and Calgary content.
In a full-circle way, Kevin’s latest film collaboration with director Laura O’Grady, Undetectable, is one of the featured documentaries at the Reel Canadian Film Fest. Undetectable, a films about HIV/AIDS in Canada launched last fall at the Calgary International Film Festival and has been garnishing praise and festival attention.
Film synopsis: Canada has the solution to end HIV infections and stop the world-wide AIDS epidemic. So why are people still dying of AIDS? The TELUS Original documentary Undetectable looks at the history, breaks down the roadblocks, and exposes the gatekeepers that have stopped the world from becoming HIV/AIDS free.
The festival is also featuring Dawn, her Dad and The Tractor by East Cost writer/director Shelley Thompson.
Film synopsis: When two adult siblings return to their family home in Nova Scotia for their mother’s funeral, the family and community not only have to deal with their mother’s loss, but with estranged son Donald’s transition to Dawn. Still mechanically gifted, Dawn reconnects with her Dad by repairing an old family tractor. This movie features a stunning performance by trans actress Maya Henry.
Two other feature films were shot in Calgary: Here & After and Jonesin’—support local filmmakers! Change the channel on your regular TV viewing and drop into the 14th Annual Reel Canadian Film Festival. You will be delighted.
UNDETECTABLE was featured earlier this month at the LGBT Toronto Film Festival where it won the audience award for best short film.
UNDETECTABLE is a TELUS Original documentary and was produced with the assistance of the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Media Fund and Calgary Arts Development, in collaboration with the Calgary Gay History Project.
As many readers of the Calgary Gay History Project know, a lot of our work has been focussed on the life of Everett Klippert—unjustly incarcerated for most of the 1960s for being gay.
In 2020, the Klippert family applied to the Parole Board of Canada for an expungement of their uncle’s criminal record—a provision that was made available to them through the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act. This Act was part of the Government of Canada’s formal apology to the LGBTQ2 community in 2017.
The expungement order was granted on November 18, 2020, which means Everett is deemed never to have been a criminal. Although he died almost 25 years ago, his family is deeply satisfied with the outcome.
Interestingly, Ottawa-based lawyer Brian Crane, who defended Everett in the Supreme Court trial of 1967, offered to assist the family with the application, pro bono. It’s remarkable that Mr. Crane’s career has spanned these two ends of Everett’s story.
The Calgary Gay History Project is very grateful to have been part of this journey with the Klippert family. To learn more about Everett’s story, and why it is important to Canadian history, we have included a few links.