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Performing Arts History & Criticism

The View from Here

Conversations with Gay and Lesbian Filmmakers

by (author) Matthew Hays

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
May 2007
History & Criticism, Gay Studies, Lesbian Studies, Entertainment & Performing Arts
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2007
    List Price
    $22.95 USD

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Winner, Lambda Literary Award, LGBT Arts/Culture

One of Quill & Quire's Books of the Year, 2007

The history of gay and lesbian cinema is a storied one, and one that became much larger with the recent success of Brokeback Mountain, Capote, and Transamerica. But the history of gay and lesbian filmmakers is its own story. In The View from Here, queer directors and screenwriters--some mainstream, others who work defiantly from the margins--speak passionately about the medium, in particular their personal experiences navigating through the often-cynical and cruel film industry. All of them offer fascinating anecdotes and opinions about cinema, and speak candidly about their attempts to combat studio apathy and demands of "the market" and still create films that are entertaining, engaging, and truthful.

Containing numerous black-and-white screen stills and production photos, The View from Here provides fascinating insight into the filmmaking process--a book for serious film fans and gay culture aficionados alike.

Filmmakers profiled include: John Waters (Pink Flamingos; Hairspray), Pedro Almodovar (Volver; Bad Education), Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho; Good Will Hunting), John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig & the Angry Inch; Shortbus), Don Roos (The Opposite of Sex; Happy Endings), Randal Kleiser (Grease), Don Mancini (the Chucky films), Kenneth Anger, Gregg Araki, Lea Pool, Wakefield Poole, Monika Treut, Rosa von Praunheim, and Canadian filmmakers such as John Greyson, Bruce LaBruce, Robert Lepage, Patricia Rozema, David Secter, Lynne Fernie, and Aerlyn Weissman.

About the author

Matthew Hays is a Montreal-based critic, author, film festival programmer, and university instructor. He is the co-editor (with Thomas Waugh) of Arsenal Pulp's Queer Film Classics series. He has been a film critic and reporter for the weekly Montreal Mirror since 1993. His first book, The View from Here: Conversations with Gay and Lesbian Filmmakers (Arsenal Pulp Press), was cited by Quill & Quire as one of the best books of 2007 and won a 2008 Lambda Literary Award. His articles have appeared in a broad range of publications, including The Guardian, The Daily Beast, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, Vice, The Walrus, The Advocate, The Toronto Star, The International Herald Tribune, Cineaste, Cineaction, Quill & Quire, This Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, Canadian Screenwriter, and Xtra!. He teaches courses in journalism, communication studies and film studies at Concordia University, where he received his MA in communication studies in 2000. A two-time nominee for a National Magazine Award, Hays received the 2013 Concordia President's Award for Teaching Excellence. .
Matthew is also co-editor (with Thomas Waugh) of the Queer Film Classics series.

Matthew Hays' profile page


  • Winner, Lambda Literary Award

Editorial Reviews

Documents how queer cinema has persevered.
-The Georgia Straight

Georgia Straight

Hays demonstrates a deep appreciation for all types of gay and lesbian films, from the profound to the campy, from documentaries to porn.... This collection of histories, opinions, and stories presents a fascinating view of queer film from the viewpoint of the filmmakers. GLBT Round Table Newsletter (American Library Assocation)

GLBT Round Table Newsletter

Matthew Hays' new book of interviews, some recorded while he was a writer for the Montreal Mirror, gives voice to underground queer cinema -- the margins of which, in the case of John Waters (the American cult director of the original 1988 version of Hairspray), inform the mainstream.
-Winnipeg Free Press

Winnipeg Free Press

What's not to love about a film book with Divine in a red dress on the cover? [A Different Light bookseller] Jason Galloway points out that profiled filmmakers include John Waters, Gregg Araki, Lea Pool, and Pedro Almodovar.
-The Advocate "Pride Issue" recommendation

The Advocate

Whether you are interested in queer history, sociology, the politics of art, or if you just love watching movies, this book belongs on your shelf. From groundbreaking pioneers in queer cinema to young contemporary artists, these filmmakers have made a difference in how others see us and, more importantly, how we see ourselves.


The View From Here is both entertaining and informative.
-Michael Bronski, The Guide

The Guide

It's one of those book ideas that's so simple, elegant and obvious, it makes you wonder why it hasn't been written until now. The View from Here is long overdue, and ought to become a staple of any film buff's reference shelf.
-Philip Preville, Toronto Life

Toronto Life review

This book reinforces the point that actual contemporary queer film culture--as opposed to queer film studies--is far more wide ranging and electic than ever before.


A superb collection of interviews with influential gay and lesbian screenwriters, directors, and producers.... Hays' interview technique is deft and masterful, turning what might easily have been a dense sequence of in-crowd conversations ... into a valuable, witty, and often humorous look at where much of mainstream culture comes from, and who's making it.
-Quill & Quire (starred review)

Quill & Quire

A highly readable collection of interviews with gay and lesbian filmmakers.... Attractive and well-researched, this is a worthy reference book for queer cinephiles.
-NOW Magazine (Toronto)

NOW Magazine

A romp through sixty years of queer film history, respectfully situating trash, indie esoterica, Hollywood compromise, porn, documentary realism, and political activism all within the same rich mosaic. Hays's interviews are unflinching and upfront but also generous and respectful, bringing out the best in all of his well-chosen subjects, from Almodovar to Waters. This fine book rescues the voice of the filmmaker from the banality of celebrity, rediscovering courage, inspiration, imagination, longing, solidarity--and perversity--as twenty-first-century queer virtues.
-Thomas Waugh, author, Out/Lines, Lust Unearthed, and Hard to Imagine

Thomas Waugh

This collection of thoroughly researched, up-to-date and easy-to-read interviews with the most important gay and lesbian filmmakers of the last 30 years is soon to be the next queer film buff's bible.
-EDGE Boston

EDGE Boston

Provides a personal glimpse of the creative personae who write, direct or produce gay films.
-Echo (Phoenix, AZ)

Echo (Phoenix)

Blending anecdotal thoughts with analysis, facts and interviews, Matthew Hays's book is an indispensable guide to the filmmakers who have shaped queer cinema. Essential reading!
-Raymond Murray, author, Images in the Dark: An Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video

Raymond Murray

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