Taylor LastThe documentary “Be Taylor” reflects the work of a number of UWindsor grads and students.

Debut documentary now streaming

Emerging filmmaker, UWindsor alumna, and Windsor native Gemma Eva (BA 2019, MFA 2021) presents her documentary directorial debut, Be Taylor, streaming free on CBC Gem as part of season 24 of the Absolutely Canadian series.

The documentary follows a young comedian, Taylor Last, for one year as she emerges into Windsor’s comedy scene. It tells of her struggle as a young queer woman who aims to overcome her mental health struggles and regain her confidence by embarking on a journey of self-love, self-discovery, and stand-up comedy.

“I really want to focus on women and queer people because I feel in the comedy community that I’ve seen, there’s a lack of representation there,” Last says. “I’m newer to my journey as a queer person. I’ve been focusing my sets on kind of embracing that and making it a healing process for me for coming to terms with my true authentic self.”

Eva says she was inspired by Last’s efforts to break into a new community in a very public way.

“As an emerging filmmaker, I felt a parallel in our creative journeys as she was also a young woman trying to enter a predominantly male-dominated field,” Eva says. “I became interested in Taylor’s story, learning that stand-up comedy was not only a fun way to entertain her community, but it is also a tool that helped her make light out of dark times.”

Besides Eva, who directed, produced, and co-edited, a number of UWindsor students and alumni worked on this project. Among them were:

  • director of photography and co-editor Calum Hotchkiss (BA 29018, MFA 2021)
  • MFA student Raquel Graston as camera operator and assistant editor
  • camera operators Armend Bajrami (BA 2018), Luca Cunial (BA 2019, MFA 2022), and Benjamin Cheer (BA 2022)
  • development editor Alysha Baker-Dias (BA 2017, MFA 2020)
  • sound recordists Sikandar Saleem (BA 2020) and Steven Boere (BA 2023, B.Ed 2023)
  • production accountant Noah Rocha, a business student

“GeminiFilms Inc. is a small production company that I started after graduating,” says Eva. “I primarily spearhead projects with my fiancée Calum Hotchkiss and my twin brother, Luca Cunial.”

Through GeminiFilms, she has the opportunity to work with local emerging talent and UWindsor alumni. She is keen to show Canadians that Windsor has a film community worth talking about.

“While working full-time in Toronto, Calum, Luca, and I always return to Windsor to produce our film projects — there’s no place like home!”

Be Taylor will debut on CBC TV this summer, and its film festival run is projected to begin later this year.