Documentarist, programmer, critic/historian. U. of T.-trained, queer-friendly Armatage has taught women’s and film studies at her alma mater since the early 1970s, and was a principal programmer at TIFF, beginning in 1983. Her two fine short films from the late 1970s were among the first Canadian independent films to recognize the political centrality of lesbian history and culture: Jill Johnston: October 1975 (co-dir. Lydia Wazana, 1977, 30), a cinéma-vérité account of the U of T visit by the New York lesbian star writer, and Gertrude and Alice in Passing (1978, 8), an experimental narrative about the historical lesbian icons Stein and Toklas. The career of the former film fizzled when Johnston, author of Lesbianation, later showed up in Toronto, refused Armatage the distribution rights outside of Canada, and, according to The Body Politic (October 1977, 16), generally offered “the most patently reactionary anti-woman statements ever heard in that setting.” Both films deserve more frequent revivals.
Toronto , ON