Lights, Camera, Inclusion S2E3: Steve J. Adams and Sean Horlor

The couple talks about working with one’s life partner, the importance of queer role models in the industry and future projects.

In this episode, we’ll meet producers, filmmakers and life partners Steve J. Adams and Sean Horlor. Their latest documentary, Satan wants you, had its world premiere at SXSW this year. Sean and Steve discuss their previous film, Someone like me, how they couldn’t imagine not working as a duo, and the importance of giving back to the queer community by being role models for the up-and-coming generation of LGBTQ+ creators. 

When asked about how they are able to maintain such a level of synchronicity in their life and especially their work, producers and directors Steve J. Adams and Sean Horlor turn the question around: “I’ve always wondered how people do it alone!”, says Adams. 

The pair met, fell in love, and started a production company a short three months after. At the time, Horlor was a TV host and associate producer who was curious to learn more about screenwriting and directing, and Adams was figuring out what he wanted to do, after transitioning from his previous work in the landscaping business. It seemed as though the stars were aligned. “When I met Steve, it was just like both of us could do it together [...] we started a company and said, "We're doing this.””

When they started out as filmmakers, LGBTQ+ role models in the industry were “not visibly online”, mentions Sean Horlor. Now, they want things to be different for the new generation. “When you reached out to us to participate in this series, it made me think back to eight years ago where we were looking for other queer filmmakers, queer directors to actually say: Oh, how have they done their career? Could we reach out to them and contact them and ask for help? And just being like: "Well, we can't find anyone." [...] Now here we are, eight years later. We are mentoring a young filmmaker, which is trying to pay it forward and say yes to these opportunities.”

Their first documentary feature film, Someone like me, followed a group of queer individuals from the Vancouver area for a year and a half, as they got together to raise funds and safely welcome an LGBTQ+ refugee to Canada. Despite many bumps in the road, including evolving dynamics within the group itself, personal struggles among the group members, and external disruptive factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the pair is proud to have made a film “that is having a lasting impact”, says Steve J. Adams. 

Even though the end result might look a lot different from the initial idea, Sean Horlor believes that’s to be expected when filming a documentary: “Things change, I think that's a really universal element to a film, above and beyond the queer community, that anyone could relate to, is the fact that you might hope that something's going to happen and life happens and it's different, and that's part of being human.”

Gaëlle Essoo
Gaëlle Essoo works for the Canada Media Fund as the Lead Editor for the Now & Next editorial platform, and as the French market liaison for the organization's Growth & Inclusion team. Prior to joining the CMF, she worked as a producer for international news channel France 24 where she focused on programs dedicated to women’s rights across the world. She also worked as a press counselor for the Embassy of France in Canada.
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