Documentarist, journalist. One of Toronto’s distinctive queer documentary voices, Algonquin-College-trained Sheehan made a big first splash as the director of Canada’s—and possibly the world’s—first major documentary about community response to AIDS, No Sad Songs (1985), an impassioned, eclectic essay centred around a profile of PWA Jim Black. This work’s AIDS theme and its formula of mixing vérité documentary with dramatization was developed further in 1996 in Sheehan’s next major work, the unusual, feature-length Symposium: The Ladder of Love. Here a sprinkling of Toronto’s queer glitterati, from Brad Fraser to Patricia Rozema, imitate Plato and talk about love, showing films-within-the-film, all directed by Sheehan, to explore their ideas. When Symposium was broadcast,The Globe and Mail called it “imaginative and candid” and a vindication of the role of CBC in “this country’s broadcast landscape and essential to the intellectual health of [TV] (21 Oct. 1996).” Sheehan’s 1997 God’s Fool (98) was a biopic of Canadian queer iconoclast and globetrotting novelist Scott Symons, which Xtra! called “Sheehan’s best work to date” (8 Oct. 1998) and which also got broadcast.
Toronto , ON