People’s Joker, The: Queer Coming-of-Age Film, Pulled From Toronto Fest Over “Rights Issues”

Pulled From Toronto Fest Over “Rights Issues”

Vera Drew’s queer coming-of-age film, with its reimagining of Gotham City, has been withdrawn from further plays at festival after world premiere after midnight on Tuesday.

“The filmmaker has withdrawn this film due to rights issues. We apologize for any inconvenience. Current ticket holders will receive an email from TIFF customer relations with information on their purchase,” TIFF said ahead of another screening at Scotiabank Theatre tonight now not going ahead.

The People’s Joker features Drew starring as an aspiring clown grappling with gender identity as she aspires to join UCB Live, a popular TV sketch comedy set in the Batman universe.

The posting of the withdrawal notice on the festival’s website followed the first screening in Toronto as part of the midnight madness program at the Royal Alexander Theatre. The film’s premiere early Wednesday morning was quickly followed by the withdrawal announcement posted on the festival’s website.

Drew said on Tuesday via zoom that the filmmakers know they’re in an “illegal gray zone.” “I Vera Drew don’t own Joker and Batman, but it’s a parody,” the trans comic said as the film aims at copyright protection as a parody.

The queer coming-of-age movie besides Drew stars Lynn Downey, Kane Distler, Nathan Faustyn, David Liebe Hart, Christian Calloway, Griffin Kramer, Phil Braun, Tim Heidecker, Ember Knight and Sarah Sherman.

The People’s Joker is Drew’s feature debut after credits that include On Cinema (17), Who Is America? (18) and Our Bodies (19), in addition to music videos.