The Bruce McArthur serial killer case shocked Canada’s largest city, and the whole country. How did McArthur avoid arrest for nearly a decade? CBC documentary Village of the Missing delves into the untold story of Toronto’s Gay Village, and the victims of these horrific crimes.
With 67-year-old serial killer Bruce McArthur recently sentenced to life in prison for eight grisly murders in Toronto’s Gay Village, VILLAGE OF THE MISSING will debut on flagship documentary series CBC Docs POV at 9:00 p.m. (9:30 NL), Friday, March 22, 2019, on CBC and the CBC Gem streaming service.
This timely film explores the unnerving reality of how McArthur chose his victims from a group of very vulnerable men from 2010 to 2017. Six of his eight victims were brown-skinned men from South Asian or Middle Eastern descent, many recent immigrants and several closeted gay men. A ninth victim, also of Middle Eastern descent, was saved by police on the day of McArthur’s arrest.
This documentary uses the McArthur story as a springboard to reveal the immense and unspoken pressures that many gay men from South Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds must live with. It asks whether an immigrant or refugee can leave their former country’s values behind when coming to Canada.
Director Michael Del Monte explains: “Investigating this film, we travelled to Turkey to witness an ‘underground gay railway’ to Canada. What we saw was a place where literally thousands of gay men are fleeing from various countries, only to end up in places like The Village. I think this film will open many eyes, and likely enlighten people as to why the police were so stymied by this case.”
Following two Gay Village stories of men on the front-lines as well as exclusive interviews with journalists reporting on this case, VILLAGE OF THE MISSING treads new ground, offering an insightful perspective on McArthur’s victims and seeking answers to why so many “brown-skinned” men were lost to McArthur.
“I didn’t want to explore the psychological state of a monstrous human being like McArthur,” says Del Monte. “I wanted this film to challenge our way of thinking about the cultural pressures that exist inside the gay community. If you go missing, who is going to speak up for you? Who is going to ensure you are found?”
VILLAGE OF THE MISSING was supported by the CBC, The Canada Media Fund, and the Rogers Documentary Fund.