- Director: Ashley Joiner
- Producer: Dan Cleland
The question is: Does this film answer its own question? Not quite.
This is a documentary for milennials...made by a milennial. Apart from the [fantastic] opening scene, where an elderly gentleman recounts his life led within a lie...Are You Proud? descends into a rather sweeping précis of LGBT history [with one glaring omission: The Age of Consent debacle] done via archive footage [most, if not all, all available on YouTube]...and, the obligatory, talking heads. Nowadays...everyone is seems to be an activist and Ashley Joiner reels them out, the old and the new. There are the usual suspects: Peter Tatchell, Michael Cashman & Co. Then, there are the new...moaning about how Pride has become overly commercial and underly political. Bless their cotton socks...they know not what they are fighting for! Commerce made Pride what it is today! Politics...well, it certainly looks like politics has bent to the will of the [LGBT] people. Boom Boom!
Are You Proud? is not a bad film, it's just an unsurprising one...and, a little under-researched and one-sided. Not everyone is [or was] a card-carrying activist...and, not everyone wants to hear from the activists alone. Give the non-activists a voice! It's called balance.
Once upon a time, many years ago...there lived a wicked witch, Margaret was her name. She ruled her land with tyranny...Y'know, the 80s were not as glum as many make out...yes, many of us [gay men] were 'illegal' [being under 21 years of age]...but, we danced and partied like there was no tomorrow. Bars, like The Bell in Kings Cross was a hub for the more politically-savvy...yet when the 'gay-unwashed' [as they were rather offensively known as then] came a-rattling their buckets for donations to this cause or that cause, most would run in the opposite direction...usually to the dance-floor, where we danced until tomorrow came! Pride is what Pride is now because...we just wanna f*&king dance!
Are You Proud? Yes...because I danced until the cows came home and was dragged - by the police - from the steps of Parliament...because, my boyfriend - at the time - was committing a crime for loving me. He was 22 and I was 18. Then, the age of consent was 21...Proud? Damn bet I am...we, all of us, helped to change that. Pride? I remember when it was free...I remember when it was cancelled because of the idiots running it. Pride, now...should be free, paid for by the corporates. Pride has evolved from being a political statement into a cause-for-celebration...stop the moaning...and...dance! That's what we call: A Party Protest!
“How can you be criminalised for being born the way you are?” asks George Montague, a 96 year old WWII veteran, beginning this documentary. His words echo through the film.
“ARE YOU PROUD?” meets key campaigners and investigates the organisations and events that have contributed to substantial progress within the western LGBTQ+ liberation movement, focussing on the history of Pride in the UK. It celebrates that progress, whilst exploring the controversial questions over the continuing relevance of the Pride march, and highlights the international battles still to be fought.
Combining archive footage, interviews, vox pops and reportage, the film guides us through the history of the Gay Pride movement in the UK. We meet founders of the Gay Liberation Front, founding members of Stonewall (The UK’s leading LGBTQ+ lobbying organisation), the organisers of various Pride marches across the UK, groups such as Black Pride, Trans Pride Brighton and Queer Picnic. The film celebrates the progress that has been made, we are also reminded of “the fact that there are an increasing number of people out there who feel emboldened in hating queers.”