By Ian Crow

‘Are You Proud?’ is the brand new documentary by Ashley Joiner who released his first documentary back in 2017 titled ‘Pride’. His new documentary follows the LGBTQ+ movement and all the hard work put into the battle for equality and the barriers the movement has faced; including Stonewall and the recent shootings in Orlando, Florida. This documentary brings together archival footage and interviews from people who are part of the movement and how much progress had been made over the past 50 years.

The agenda for all documentaries is to be impactful and informative in the message it’s trying to put out. There haven’t been many I’ve watched in the past that have been necessarily bad but, as I mentioned, the best documentaries are the ones that leave a mark on you and really make you consider the particulars focused on throughout. I’m not part of the LGBTQ+ community, but I know many people who are, so to have the chance to educate myself on where the community were and are now in terms of progress is enlightening and important for everybody to know.

Touching again on my first paragraph, ‘Are You Proud?’ covers the history of the movement from its highs and many lows. The shooting in Orlando, Florida is one that I am aware of; one which should never be forgotten. Watching people’s reactions to that shooting in the documentary is incredibly moving and shows the togetherness created by this movement, that wasn’t shown in mainstream media. 50 years has passed since the Stonewall riots and the release of this story and snippet in time in with that anniversary. The mentioned riots are covered in this documentary, the reasons behind their development and the foundations put in place since they occurred. They show the movement in its glory, the achievements that it has made and yet continues to highlight that there is a lot more work still required, especially in regards to divisions that still exist today within this community. The lack of support for particular ethnic groups and those who considered themselves as transgender are covered well within this piece of work and demonstrate how they are marginalised in comparison to the rest of their community.

Overall, I can’t really fault this documentary. It doesn’t take long at all for it to get to its main objective; covering the community and the progress that has been made. Its impactful, informative and most importantly, it appeals to every single person. The use of archival footage is fantastic and the insightful interviews of the LGBTQ+ community are well shot in terms of the intimacy of these shots and give each interviewee time to have their say. This intimacy is vital in a piece of work such as this and therefore deserves high regard for its reaching this high standard.

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