Berlinale: Programme

Film File

Panorama 40

The Making of Monsters

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In 1985, gay teacher Kenneth Zellers was murdered by five teenage boys in High Park, Toronto. In his experimental musical, John Greyson, enfant terrible of Canadian cinema, undertakes a comprehensive, activist’s analysis of the case. Employing Brecht’s strategies of defamiliarisation and an exuberant dose of provocation, Greyson reconstructs both the course of events and the media hype surrounding them in the form of a fictitious documentary that chronicles the making of a film about the murder. This, in turn, is subverted by his use of a number of different styles – including elements of news reports, staged drama, archive footage and music video sequences. The result is a radical, multi-layered study of homophobia that cuts through the thicket of white heteronormativity with bitterly ironic flair. Bertolt Brecht himself appears as a director in the guise of a fish, while dancers in jockstraps with ice hockey sticks and goaltender masks ignite a firework of queer joie de vivre, full of anger and self-determined charisma.

John Greyson

Canada 1990


35’ · Colour · 2K DCP


Ray Kahnert (Bertolt Brecht)
David Gardner (Georg Lukacs)
Taborah Johnson (Lotte Lenya)
Lee MacDougal (Joe Maguire)
Stewart Arnott (Vince)
Claire Coulter (Joe's Mother)


Written and directed by
John Greyson
Almerinda Travassos
Miume Jan
Glenn Schellenberg
Herwig Gayer
Susan MacKenzie
Art Director
Virginia Rankin
Laurie Lynd, Louise Garfield, John Greyson


John Greyson

Born in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada in 1960, he has lived in Toronto since 1980. His work as a film and television director and media artist has featured at international festivals and museums and has won numerous awards. In 1989 he received a Teddy Award for Urinal, and a second one in 1991 for The Making of Monsters. He also works as a university professor, author, scriptwriter and book editor.

Filmography (selection)

1989 Urinal; Panorama 1990 The Making of Monsters; short experimental film; Panorama 1993 Zero Patience; Panorama 1996 Lilies 1997 Un©ut; Panorama 1998 Herr; short film 2000 The Law of Enclosures 2001 Packin'; short film 2003 Proteus; co-director: Jack Lewis; Panorama 2009 Fig Trees; Panorama · Covered; short film; Panorama 2011 Green Laser; short film; Panorama 2013 Murder in Passing; short film

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

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Canadian Film Centre