Fri Feb 28, 2020 – 2:30 pm | La Casa Grande
Are You Proud?
Directed by Ashley Joiner
USA | 95 min | 2019
The LGBTQ+ movement in the UK has fought bruising battles for equality. Directed by Ashley Joiner, Are You Proud? brings together rare archive footage and interviews from across a spectrum of historical campaigns to celebrate the movement’s landmark achievements . Gay Pride, the Gay Liberation Front and Stonewall are among the organisations recognised in a film that doesn’t just look back, but asks tough questions about the future. 50 years after the Stonewall riots in America, this is a timely moment to take stock and question how much attitudes have changed and fundamental rights have been achieved.
Although the film’s many contributors are predominantly based in the UK, the issues addressed resonate across the globe. Through the prism of Pride in the UK we see the fragility of human rights, not only for the LGBTQ+ community but for everyone. Are You Proud? is a candid and moving investigation into seventy years of progress in the LGBTQ+ rights movement. It celebrates the many breakthroughs made by tireless individuals and it reminds us how far we have yet to go.away…
A few years ago, when a partner’s mother, a LGBTQ+ activist, asked whether I would be attending Pride, I answered with a resounding “No”. I felt a total disconnect to what I perceived Pride to be. Her response was: “You don’t know your history!”. She was right – I didn’t. I had no knowledge of Section 28 and knew only of rumours and lies regarding the AIDS crisis. Exploring our history has helped me to understand why I grew up as an isolated young gay man filled with shame and fear. I knew I had to make this film in the effort to prevent anyone else feeling that way.
Are You Proud? is an exploration of a community that has tirelessly campaigned for my existence; the lives and battles fought that aren’t discussed or taught in schools, of a community that I am a part of, and is a part of me. Through this journey, I found friendship, love, voice and purpose.
A work-in-progress screening at BFI FLARE 2017 was pivotal, giving the audience the opportunity to have their say in shaping the end result. What started as a film being made alone in my bedroom has now grown into a film made by the community, for the community.
I’d like to thank all of those who supported our Kickstarter, our Executive Producers Andy Whitmore, Glenn Scott Wright, Charlie Parsons, Andrew Su, and Bruno Wang for believing in a first time filmmaker; and Andrew Lumsden, Lisa Power, Fox Fisher, Phyll Opoko-Gyimah and Dan Glass for their advice, guidance and trust. This process has ensured Are You Proud? is like no other film on the LGBTQ+ community, a film that is truly reflective of who we are. And with that comes the reality that within our community there are issues and differences of opinion that have to be addressed. Are You Proud? is as critical of us as a community as it is of those who oppress us.
Are You Proud ? is the film I needed to see when I was a child, and as a young gay man coming out. Making this film has emboldened me to continue the fight that so many have fought before me, and I hope that it encourages others to do the same.
~ Ashley Joiner
Graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2012, Ashley Joiner began his career working as an editor with commercial clients including NIKE, Toyota and Facebook as well as on music videos for artists including M.I.A. Ashley has since stepped up and directed commercials, music videos, documentaries and for filmed work for theatre productions.
His debut feature length documentary Are You Proud? (formally named PRIDE? ) screened a work in progress version at BFI Flare Film Festival 2017, which was reviewed as “one of the most important LGBT films of the year” by The Independent . Are You Proud? will be distributed in the United Kingdom by Peccadillo Pictures in summer 2019.
Ashley was the Digital Director for the West End and UK tour of Green Day’s musical American Idiot. Working with Being A Man festival at The Royal Festival Hall, Ashley explored themes of sexuality and masculinity. He expanded this in commissions for clients including Grindr and Topman.
In 2016 Ashley launched QUEERCIRCLE, an organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting the work of queer artists. In its first year, QUEERCIRCLE collaborated with London’s Victoria Miro Gallery, and the project has attracted support from Turner Prize nominated artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien CBE, amongst others.
In December 2017, Ashley was named one of GAY Times ’ ‘Five Queer Filmmakers to Watch Out For’. He is currently working on a series of short films in conjunction with The Commonwealth Equality Network, which brings together LGBTQ+ Activists and Organisations from across the Commonwealth.