Lauren Hortie and Sonya Reynolds are award-winning Toronto-based queer artists who have been creating a series of short, experimental animated videos telling under-documented stories from queer Toronto history. Using shadow puppetry, overhead projector animation, stop motion and what little archive material exists, Hortie and Reynolds tell stories that otherwise cannot be told in a documentary format - because there's simply too little documentation. Hortie and Reynolds take this as a creative challenge: to create artful, educational, accessible and beautiful narratives about important stories that otherwise might be lost.
Hortie and Reynolds have been collaborating for several years on video and photography projects. In 2013, they began a series about forgotten moments of Toronto's queer history with Whatever Happened to Jackie Shane, the story of a Nashville-born, Toronto-based, black, cross-dressing musician who had a #2 hit on the CHUM charts in 1963 before suddenly disappearing; the second in this series, Midnight at the Continental, describes the rise and fall of Toronto's first long-standing lesbian bar, and its overlaps with Toronto's early Chinatown neighbourhood. They have screened their award-winning collaborations at Inside Out (Toronto), Reel Out (Kingston), Rebels With a Cause (Toronto), Reel Pride (Winnipeg), and many more, and curated an exhibition based on Jackie Shane at Videofag Gallery (Toronto).
Hortie brings her extensive experience as an illustrator, shadow puppet artist, and art teacher at Oasis Skateboard Factory, an arts-based alternative high school. As the organizer of Steers and Queers, Bent Beauty and numerous other events, Hortie also possesses the organizing and promotional skills to make the event a success.