On Nov. 2, CBC premiered Shut Him Down: The Rise of Jordan Peterson, a 44-minute point-of-view documentary focused on Peterson’s journey into the public spotlight. The film compacts more than 110 hours of “fly-on-the-wall moments” filmed with Peterson and those around him.
Director Patricia Marcoccia was originally recording Peterson for a film with a different storyline, but in 2016 when the professor criticized Bill C-16, controversary ignited and she stumbled into a heated Canadian debate.
The documentary aims to show different perspectives of those involved in the debate including Peterson and his family, people who identify as non-binary, activists, professors and students.
“It was important for me that I try to understand the story from different worldviews and ultimately reflect that complexity back into the film,” Marcoccia told Christian Courier in an email interview.
“The burning question for me is always ‘Are you for Jordan Peterson or against his views?’ and I’m very interested in the tribal and moral layers at the bottom of this question. I think tribalism, political polarization and moral righteousness are getting in the way of genuine, compassionate and constructive conversations. So it was important for me to offer nuance and somewhat disrupt this polarized way of thinking.”
When the film’s trailer was released, the likes and dislikes on YouTube were at a 50:50 ratio. “After Jordan published a couple of neutral tweets about the film, the dislikes began to skyrocket,” Marcoccia said, noting it was surprising people interpreted the first half of the film’s title – Shut Him Down – so literally. Since the film was released, most people have found it fair and balanced.
Canadians can view the documentary free on the CBC Docs POV website. Marcoccia, who founded Toronto-based Holding Space Films, is working on an extended, theatrical version of the film to be released worldwide in spring of 2019.
“There is a lot to this story and this is only the beginning,” she said.
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