Stonewall director Roland Emmerich defends his take on the riots

q at TIFF: Filmmaker Roland Emmerich says his contested film about the Stonewall riots is "not a documentary".
Roland Emmerich's Stonewall tells the story of the 1969 riots for gay rights that birthed the modern LGBTQ rights movement in North America. (Philippe Bosse/Centropolis)

Stonewall director Roland Emmerich joins guest host Talia Schlanger to discuss his take on the pivotal 1969 riots — credited with launching the North American gay rights movement — and the backlash he's seen since releasing his film's trailer.

Critics say Emmerich's story pushes trans and non-white activists to the margins of the story, despite their historically central role. The filmmaker responds at length, with reference to the dramatic license he has as an artist. 

"It's not a documentary," he says. 

The filmmaker, who first heard about the Stonewall riots while growing up gay in Germany, has long wanted to recount the story on the silver screen.

"I so passionately wanted to do it, no one could stop me," he tells Schlanger. 

WEB EXTRA | Thousands have signed a petition to boycott the film, based on trailer below. 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?