Television director, scriptwriter (Toronto). Trained as an actor in the US, Toronto-based Mossanen first caught the attention of the queer audience with the drama Illegal Acts (1982, 21), an unsettling allegory of the gay community by way of a chicken processing plant. He also caught the attention of the CBC, where Mossanen eased into arts programming focused on dance, the field where he has fortified his reputation ever since. The CBC did not like his 1992 departure outside of the tony realm of ballet however: his 1992 collaboration with Sky Gilbert The Jane Show, in which Gilbert interviews his rather over-the-top drag alterego was rejected for a prime-time slot, and then a “sanitized, toothless version” was eventually broadcast. “The artistic resonance of the original [was] brutally excised,” according to Xtra!, though there was some redeeming value “in seeing an openly queer artist discussing his work and the responsibilities of the gay artist on national television (27 Nov. 1992).” Mossanen’s scrapes with censorship and artistic interference got roasted in his Gemini-nominated My Gentlemen Friends (1999, 68), an unprecedented and insightful drama about three elderly gay male ex-dancers who reminisce about their golden years as queer pioneers, both onstage and off. All is framed by the story of a TV program production around them being sabotaged by a nasty and gutless, closeted television executive. Hmmm. Next came another CBC-supported programme, The Rings of Saturn(2002), a “contemporary dance drama” about love and romance, including a homo-romantic tour de force: a repressed and lonely male doctor has trouble hearing the heart of a hunky patient (chest hair evidently interferes with stethoscopes), and a to-die-for pas-de-deux ensues. Inspired by Les Liaisons dangereuses, the followup Year of the Lion (2003), was judged by Xtra!’s Nicholas Davies to be a “hugely successful” improvement on Rings(9 Jan. 2003), despite inequitable gender dynamics in the roles: there are some lesbo flirtations around a pool table but it’s the wonderful male-male pas-de-deux interpretation of cruising and game-playing (literally—it’s a frisbee!) as well as romance that steals the show.
Toronto , ON