Private Project

A Public Display of Affection

A deeply personal, solo theatrical performance by Jonathan Wilson (My Own Private Oshawa). Part memoir, part history play, it follows Jonathan as he excavates the lives, loves and landmarks of his youth in Toronto's "gay ghetto". Reflecting from his current state of relative comfort and privilege, he looks back on his time as a teen drop out in the late 70's and early 80's and the challenges faced, but also the community formed, in the face of persecution, ostracization and the scourge of AIDS. The film integrates a vivid use of CG effects to not only capture the theatricality of the piece but also creates a uniquely cinematic experience in the process.
The cut that we are submitting has a locked picture in terms of the edit and content but we will be making small tweaks to the sound mix and background digital effects over then next few weeks.

  • Moze Mossanen
    You Are Here: A Come From Away Story, My Piece of the City, Unsung
  • Jonathan Wilson
    My Own Private Oshawa, Queer as Jokes (CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival)
  • Studio 180 Theatre
    Theatrical productions include: The Normal Heart, My Night with Reg, Cock
  • Moze Mossanen
    Romeos & Juliets, Year of the Lion, From Time to Time
  • Jonathan Wilson
    Key Cast
    My Own Private Oshawa, Tiny Pretty Things, Designated Survivor, Murdoch Mysteries
  • Project Type:
    Feature, Television, Web / New Media, Other
  • Genres:
    Drama, One-Man Show, Solo Memoir, LGBTQ, Comedy
  • Runtime:
    51 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 31, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Paradise Cinema - invited screening - June 3
    June 3, 2022
    Studio 180 held an invited premiere of the version submitted here.
Distribution Information
  • No distribution deal
Director Biography - Moze Mossanen

Moze Mossanen is an independent film and television director, writer and producer based in Toronto, Ontario. Over the years, he has created numerous popular and award winning films in collaboration with many of North America's finest performing artists. On November 2, 2010 Moze received the Gemini Award for Best Director in a Performing Arts Program for the TV docu-drama, "Nureyev".

Most recently, Moze created "Unsung", a one-hour documentary on the world of show choirs that aired on TVO and won the Canadian Screen Award in 2015. In 2017 Moze completed "My Piece of the City" (CBC) and in 2018 "You Are Here", (HBO Canada).

"You Are Here" won the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary at CineFest in October 2018 and became the highest-rated original program on HBO Canada for the same year. The film also won the CSA Award for Best Documentary Program in March 2109 and the Jury Prize at the Banff World Media Festival in June 2019. On September 11, 2019, Fathom Events released the film in over 800 cinemas across the United States. The New York Times highlighted the film by saying: "The documentary’s emotional power has the same source as “Come From Away” — the poignant knowledge that in a fearful moment, citizens of one nation embraced strangers, sharing what they had to make their visitors feel at home."

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Director Statement

I’ve adapted many works for the screen using film technique but, as the theatre community wrestles with notions of how to continue to share their work in a time when people are prevented from gathering, I felt it was incumbent upon me to create something that served as more than just a document of a live theatrical performance. How could the medium enhance and embellish Jonathan's excellent play and bring audiences deeper into his story?

For our production, we're embracing CG, not as an illustrative device (i.e. to recreate cityscapes, sidewalks, etc.) but to create a stylized environment that can heighten the theatrical experience for a film audience and bring them deeper into our protagonists' tumultuous state of mind as he wrestles with a turbulent past, a tenuous present and an unknowable future.

Above all, this is a story that bears witness to a past that many young people are not familiar with. Studio 180's work with students, viewing early readings of the play in development have demonstrated that, not only is it a compelling and moving narrative, it's a testament to a lived experience that must be remembered so as not to repeated.