Pose creator Steven Canals on the lasting influence of Paris Is Burning

Steven Canals tells us how Jennie Livingston's 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning changed his life, and why the film still reverberates nearly 30 years later.
A still from the documentary Paris Is Burning. (Academy Entertainment)

When the FX series Pose premiered last year it made history for having the largest transgender cast ever on television. The Peabody Award-winning drama is about drag ball culture and the New York City ballroom scene of the 1980s. Last night, it returned for its second season.

Pose was directly inspired by the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning by Jennie Livingston. For the creator of Pose, Steven Canals, the film also influenced him personally. He tells us how the documentary changed his life and why it still reverberates nearly 30 years later.

Paris Is Burning is available to stream on Netflix and a restored version of the film is playing in Toronto on Monday, June 17 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

WATCH | Official trailer for Paris Is Burning:

— Produced by ​Vanessa Greco

This summer during Pride, CBC is collecting LGBT stories from across the country. You can find them at cbc.ca/pride.