Disruptor Conductor

A featured documentary brought to you by Iron Bay Media / CBC Docs / UrbanSoul Inc

Trailer

Disruptor Conductor Trailer (1:08)

Synopsis

In this award winning documentary, Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser is an unlikely hero on a mission to create live orchestral shows that aren't just for the rich and fancy.

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser is one of the first openly gay black conductors in Canada. The child of a working-class Caribbean single mother, he was raised in Calgary, Alberta and he understands what it is to be an 'other'.

As he struggled with his sexuality, Bartholomew-Poyser turned to music for solace and finally found his voice as a conductor. He believes that the beauty and grace of music can unite and uplift all of us beyond race, class and gender barriers.

Bartholomew-Poyser wants to use his musical power for good. In Disruptor Conductor we see him on a mission to break down institutional walls and bring live orchestral music to millennials, people of colour, young people, LGBTQ, prisoners, refugees, students; anyone who identifies as 'other'.

"We're trying to bring music to everybody. Often times, when you heard these instruments, sometimes you had to go to a concert hall to hear it. We're trying to bring it out of the concert hall and just take it to wherever people are," says Bartholomew-Poyser.

Along with RuPaul's Drag Race star, Thorgy Thor, Bartholomew-Poyser creates the first orchestral drag queen show in Canada. It's a way to express all parts of himself at once; bringing old-world orchestra and his recently-discovered LGBTQ community together in harmonic union.

Cast

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser

From a young age, Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser turned to orchestral music to bring light, beauty, and healing to his personal and professional life. He isn't your typical conductor — Daniel has the vision and process to disrupt the traditional ways orchestral music is experienced.

The CBC/Iron Bay Media documentary Disruptor Conductor captures what has been the biggest year of Daniel's life, resulting in four concerts that include playing in a women's prison; conducting an Afro-fusion concert with an artist from the blockbuster film Black Panther; putting on the first orchestral drag show with "RuPaul's Drag Race" celebrity contestant, Thorgy Thor; and creating a concert for people on the autism spectrum.

Daniel earned his Bachelors in Music Performance and Education from the University of Calgary, and received his Master of Philosophy in Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. He's been awarded the Canada Council for the Arts Jean-Marie Beaudet Prize for Orchestral Conducting and has servedas Assistant Conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Associate Conductor of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.

Daniel has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Hamilton Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and Eastern Sierra Symphony. The 2019/2020 season is an exciting one for Daniel; he will debut with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and will serve with the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Centre as Cover Conductor.

Currently holding a coveted position as the Artist in Residence and Community Ambassador at Symphony Nova Scotia, Daniel has recently been appointed to the Board of Orchestras Canada and is the chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility committee.

Thorgy Thor

Thorgy Thor's dream is to have her own Thorchestra. Her show with Daniel at Symphony Nova Scotia for Halifax Pride is one step closer to making that a reality. As Daniel looks for his place in his newly found LGBTQ community, Thorgy is trying to make room to be taken seriously as a classical violinist and celloist in the orchestral world. She now has that chance with Daniel leading the way with the Thorgy Thorchestra. The stakes are high for both of them.

After spending the early years studying Violin, Viola, and Cello, Thorgy earned a dual degree in Violin and Viola Performance at Hart School of Music and Purchase Conservatory. Over the last few years, Thorgy Thor has had the pleasure of playing violin with many recording artists including NYC legend Joey Arias, as well as performing with over 6 major orchestras, gracing the stages of Town Hall NYC, Le Poisson Rouge, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. What Thorgy is most well known for is her Season 8 appearance and reappearance in Season 10 on RuPaul's Drag Race.

Thorgy has said "It's very important for me to present this and have it be something very special rather than be thrown together. I hate when things are thrown together. I think that's why I might've appeared neurotic in RuPaul's Drag Race. I just want the Thorchestra to be so good." This statement is a little bit more than ironic given that Daniel has had to hunt Thorgy down to make plans for the upcoming concert.

After several unanswered emails, texts and phone calls, Daniel found out that Thorgy would be performing at Pride in St. Catherines, Ontario and drove over 50 km to hunt her down—as Daniel called it, "the hunt for the drag queen." He caught up with her in the mall and in a drive back to her hotel, tried his last attempt to secure her for the lineup for the performance. One day later, she texted Daniel to say she changed her mind—she was in.

Team

Director / Writer / Producer

Sharon Lewis

Sharon Lewis's directing talent successfully crisscrosses the genre of television, film, and theatre. Sharon has a history of helming projects that are groundbreaking and pioneering. She began the first theatre company run by and for women of color, called "Sugar'n'Spice", and she co-wrote the theatre hit "sistahs", which toured across Canada and the U.S.

Sharon then moved into film and television, honing her directing skills in a variety of television genres. Sharon's feature film debut, Brown Girl Begins, is an Afro-futurist sci-fi tale of a young black woman who saves her community through her connection to Caribbean spirits. The film has toured the world, garnering awards and recognition, including a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Lewis for Best Screenplay. She was just nominated for. Best Director for the Canadian Screen Awards in 2020. Sharon's award-winning shorts, including Chains, which aired on HBO and were showcased at a number of prestigious film festivals and continue to support BIPOC voices and stories.

She has recently completed her first feature documentary on Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, the first openly gay, black conductor in Canada, called Disruptor Conductor. Sharon continues to direct episodic television and is currently working on the film adaptation of "sistahs", slated for production in 2022.

Her next feature documentary about the LGBTQ+ community's thriving after conversion therapy, With Wonder, will be released February 2021.

Producer

Byron Kent Wong

As a media producer and creative director, Byron has over two decades of creative development. He is the founder and lead of the Emmy-nominated production eco-system ZERO11ZERO/Iron Bay Media.

He co-produced the globally syndicated music show, The NewMusic from 1997-1999 and went on to develop projects, programming, and creative with Michelle Obama, Gord Downie, The Crystal Method, The Eurythmics, David Usher, David Bowie, Beck, New Order, Kendrick Lamar, Oscar-nominated producer Jerry Levitan, and Oscar-winner Mychael Danna.

Byron's foray into feature film work first came through working with director and producer Clement Virgo and producer Damon D'Oliveira's 2006 controversial Lie with Me and 2008's Poor Boys Game, gaining the team multiple award nominations including two Genie awards and Canadian Screen Awards.

In 2009, Byron produced the critically-acclaimed OffWorld, a fan and festival favourite that received numerous awards including the ReelWorld Best Feature of 2009. He has since produced two other feature films, Kill Order and On the Ropes, that are currently at market with global distribution. He also Executive Produced the acclaimed feature doc I Dream of Wires. Notable documentary work includes the Emmy-nominated Jason Day: Never Say Die, Choir!Choir!Choir! Hallelujah with Rufus Wainwright, CBC's Player Zero, the Arctic-based From Far and Wide, ProMax BDA-winning 4 Days in April, and projects with HBO, NBC, BMW, and renowned Toronto LGBTQ community centre The 519.

Cinematographer

Justin Lovell

Justin Lovell began in documentary and music video editing, later turning to VFX and design for MuchMusic, Ford, and features including Land of the Dead. Finding even more passion behind the camera, Justin honed his distinctive style as a cinematographer through his work with visual movement, composition, and natural lighting.

Shooting around the world, his award-winning work has been celebrated at festivals such as Sundance, Berlin Nomos and ReelWorld; on broadcast with HBO, Bravo!, NBC, CBC, FOX, YTV, MTV, ESPN, and TSN; and online with over ten million views of his work featuring athletes, musicians, martial artists, and world-class brands including Giorgio Armani, The Blue Jays, Choir!Choir! Choir!, Metric, BMW, Coors, ElectronicArts, RBC, and many more.

Justin shot the Emmy-nominated documentary Jason Day: Never Say Die, CBC Docs' Player Zero, and has just completed two back-to-back feature films with the teams from Suicide Squad, Triple X, and Netflix's Marco Polo. He has been nominated by the Canadian Society of Cinematographers for his documentary work, and in 2017 he was nominated for a CSC award for his accomplishments in Lifestyle/Reality Cinematography.

Editor

Kejd Kuqo

Kejd Kuqo is an award-winning filmmaker and a graduate of Humber College's Film and Television Program where he specialized in Editing, Cinematography, and Directing.

Kejd's short documentary Building on Sand has screened at various international festivals and premiered on OMNI1. Bosniak has screened at 25 festivals including Riverrun Film Festival, HollyShorts, Festival Du Nouveau Cinéma, and Air Canada enRoute Film Festival. Bosniak also aired on CBC as part of its Canadian Reflections program, as well as onboard Air Canada flights. The film has won several awards including Best Film, Best Director, and multiple Audience Choice awards. Kejd is the recipient of the Kenneth Post Achievement Award.

Kejd is part of the Emmy-nominated Iron Bay Media creative team since 2016, and has worked on projects including On The Ropes, and From Far and Wide, and is currently developing the feature documentary Lazarat about the biggest secret drug operation in Europe's history.

Stills

Scenes

Press

“As Disruptor Conductor shows, Bartholomew-Poyser and Thor clearly made for quite the dynamic duo.”

Download Press Kit

Awards

Contact

Disruptor Conductor

Email: hello@ironbaymedia.com

Instagram: @DisruptorConductor

Daniel Bartholomew Poyser

Website: danielbartholomewpoyser.com

Instagram@danielbartholomewpoyser

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