Patricia Marcoccia and Face2Face host David Peck talk about her new film Shut Him Down: The Rise of Jordan Peterson, human rights and pronouns, fearful associations, differing worldviews and sacred ceremonies.
Shut Him Down: The Rise of Jordan Peterson is the directorial debut of Patricia Marcoccia. It’s a timely one-hour point-of-view documentary film focusing on University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson’s controversial rise to fame from an unprecedented behind-the-scenes perspective. The film documents over 110 hours of vérité, fly-on-the-wall moments with Peterson, his family, activists, students and professors, ranging from staunch supporters of Peterson to those who vehemently oppose him.
In fall 2016, Peterson published a video entitled “Professor Against Political Correctness,” thrusting him into the national spotlight for his criticisms of Canadian human rights legislation Bill C-16. In the video, Peterson argued that the law crosses a dangerous line with regards to freedom of expression because it enforces the use of alternate gender pronouns for persons who identify as a gender outside of male or female. Peterson’s views were immediately described as transphobic and dangerous by people like A.W. Peet, a self-described non-binary University of Toronto physics professor. As Dr. Peet states in the film, “Bill C-16 is not about cisgender people, it’s about protections for transgendered people.”
Director Marcoccia, who was shooting another film about Peterson when the controversy ignited, stumbled into one of the biggest debates in Canada. As the debate ensued, media attention shifted from questions like “Is Peterson right or wrong about this debate,” to “who is this world-renowned professor and are his ideas dangerous?”
“As a documentary filmmaker, my goal wasn’t to push out a message,” continues Marcoccia, “But it was important that I deeply understood what was at stake for people coming at this from different vantage points: non-binary people; activists; professors; students, and to create a film that enabled each side to voice itself on its own terms.”
Patricia Marcoccia is a Toronto-based filmmaker with 8 years of multidisciplinary experience in digital media production, journalism, and documentary film. Her first documentary short, We Make Stories Out of Totem Poles, 2016, was screened at festivals internationally and her premiere feature-length documentary. Shut Him Down, aired on CBC in the fall 2018 and is available here online.
Before her foray into documentary film, Patricia worked as a journalist and digital media producer with agencies that focus on social change mandates. She collaborated on innovative projects such as a Telefilm multi-city national workshop series on online marketing and multiplatform distribution for film, and Melting Silos, a trans media development workshop sponsored by NFB, Telefilm, CMPA and BC Film.
In 2011 Patricia participated in DOXA Documentary Film Festival’s Kris Anderson Program for emerging female filmmakers. She went on to work as associate producer for the interactive component of Canadian Screen Award nominated action documentary series, Battle Castle. Battlecastle.tv won the Blue Drop Award for best entertainment website in 2013.
Patricia earned an honours bachelor of science degree in psychology, neuroscience and behaviour at McMaster
Image Copyright: Patricia Marcoccia and Holding Space Films. Used with permission.
For more information about David Peck’s podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.
With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.