Documentarist, producer. Indefatigable ethnographer of Toronto queer scenes and other dissident subcultures since the 1970s, York- and U. of T.-trained Wagner may be best known for his biodoc on Jamaican-Canadian queer photographer Michael Chambers, The Photographer: An Artist’s Journey (1997, 45), an in-depth journalistic exploration, broadcast on CBC, of the artist and the controversies around his Afro-centric, often homoerotic, nudes. Queer and black festival audiences also appreciated Wagner’s lavish and loving documentaries on “diva” worlds of drag performers: Forbidden Fruit Unfinished Stories of Our Lives (1999, 27), whose oral histories of Ontario white stage stars uncovers a forgotten narrative going back to the postwar period; Latin Queens: Unfinished Stories of Our Lives (1999, 55), which injects inextricable refugee politics into the formula; and Divas: Love Me Forever (2002, 48 and 81 min), a worshipful encounter—on stage and off—with six Toronto black performers, most of whom trace their roots back to Caribbean childhoods. The latter was produced by Wagner and directed by the Cuban-bred, former dancer Edimburgo Cabrera (b. 1960), Wagner’s frequent, talented videographer on earlier works.
Toronto , ON