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Winter Kept Us Warm

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English Canada’s first gay film, and why you’ve never heard of it.

Widely considered to be English Canada’s first queer film, Winter Kept Us Warm explores a romance between two young men at the University of Toronto in the early 1960s, a moment when homosexuality was still a crime in Canada.

A true student film, Winter was written and directed by David Secter, a twenty-two-year-old English major, shot with amateur actors and a volunteer crew, and completed on a budget of only $8,000. Against the odds, the film was a huge success. Lauded by critics at home and abroad, it was selected to open the Commonwealth Film Festival, played art house cinemas across the United States and Europe, and became the first Anglo-Canadian fiction feature to screen at Cannes. Influential film journals including Sight and Sound and Cahiers du cinéma covered it, as did mainstream publications such as Variety and the New York Times. David Cronenberg has cited it as influential on his own work. Despite this acclaim, the film has largely vanished from the cultural consciousness and few queer people today have even heard of it, let alone seen it.

With this new addition to the Queer Film Classics series, Chris Dupuis looks at the disconnect between the film’s historical importance and its subsequent disappearance, examining how the story of Winter Kept Us Warm can serve as a starting point for intergenerational queer dialogue.

Chris Dupuis is a writer, curator, and performance-maker, originally from Toronto.

Title: Winter Kept Us Warm

Format: Paperback

Product dimensions: 144 pages, 9" H x 6" W

Shipping dimensions: 144 pages, 9" H x 6" W

Published: April 2, 2024

Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press

Language: English

ISBN: 9780228020332

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Winter Kept Us Warm


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