Gerry Rogers

Documentarist, Producer

Documentarist, producer. A veteran producer and director of feminist documentary for the NFB, especially for Studio D, in the 1980s and 1990s, Rogers moved from the invisible lesbian end of the feminist spectrum to the matter-of-fact upfront variety with her My Left Breast (2000, St. John’s, 57). The first Canadian documentary breakthrough and bestseller of the new century, My Left Breast is Gerry Rogers’s account of her struggle against breast cancer. Based on over seventy hours of diaristic, low format video material shot by Rogers and her life partner Peggy Norman, this ebullient but challenging independent film (financed by CBC Newsworld) is a brilliant demonstration of the potential of low format video for exploring the personal politics of intimacy, desire and self-representation. The L word is taken for granted as Rogers and Norman follow the community empowerment and the late night tears of their everyday lives; the camera and microphone validate sexual identity as intrinsically inseparable from other social issues, such as women’s health. Rogers, a roundish ex-nun and veteran producer of some of Studio D’s more harrowing essays on such subjects as sexual abuse ( To A Safer Place 1987), reveals her wackier Newfoundland side, rolling around and clapping flippers on a dramatic oceanfront precipice a with other hairless survivors, seals. Showered with Genies and Geminis along with dozens of other prizes, Breast was the toast of US talk-show-dom, and one of the most successful queer Canadian videos ever.