Anton Wagner has been documenting queer history in Toronto for 30 years. Wagner was born in 1960 and lives in Toronto, the focus of his documentary filmmaking. His documentaries include ‘The Photographer: an artist’s journey,’ about the life of photographer Michael Chambers, and ‘Forbidden fruit: the unashamed lives of female impersonators,’ a film that documents drag queens in Toronto from as early as the 1940s. ‘The Photographer’ was broadcast on the CBC and is part of a body of documentary work that has been essential to telling Toronto gay and trans stories for decades.
The ArQuives is lucky to have received numerous donations of Mr. Wagner’s essential work since 1999. These include ‘The Photographer’ and ‘Forbidden fruit,’ as well as his film ‘Divas: Love me forever’ and a collection of videos featuring 81 hours of footage of drag queens both in performance and in interviews. In 2017, Mr. Wagner donated 487 dvcam tapes chronicling an astonishing breadth of Toronto queer stories between 1998 and 2014. These feature everything from the 1998 Gay Pride march to an interview with Liselda (of Mr. Wagner’s film ‘Liselda’s Birthday’) to interviews with former Toronto city councillor and gay activist George Hislop in his apartment. “My donation to The ArQuives will help with the digitizing of hundreds of hours of video interviews with pioneers in the community and drag performances in two dozen clubs in Toronto filmed by Eddy Cabrera two decades ago, helping to keep our stories alive,” Wagner says.
These generous donations have not yet been processed, but are available at The ArQuives to researchers.