Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story is the type of documentary that immediately invites you in. Warm and tenderly composed throughout, the movie is built from contemporary interviews, family photos, and archival footage. These images and scenes combine with Glenn-Copeland’s music to create something akin to a home movie. And the entire experience is a truly intimate portrait of the iconic musician.
The story is told, like most stories, from the beginning, as Copeland takes us through his journey in his own words. Born in Philadelphia before moving to Montreal to attend McGill University as one of the first Black students in attendance, Glenn-Copeland’s life has always been steeped in music. The gospel and classical influences that Glenn-Copeland took from his parents is then interwoven into the music Glenn-Copeland himself makes. The movie works like this throughout, as Copeland and the deft production of filmmaker Posy Dixon, weave together Glenn-Copeland’s past with his present. The ties between the two are likewise made apparent, and the documentary is never robbed of complexity.
It’s quite a masterful documentary, leaving very nearly no stone unturned. Glenn-Copeland—a Black trans man who found late-in-life musical success after a career in children’s entertainment—is likewise very revealing of himself and his experiences. He has a keen ability to explain his emotions during specific life events, such as self-releasing his first album, switching to electronic music, or even his gender transition, and then digging deeper into them. In this way, Glenn-Copeland’s interviews become both a charting of his emotions as well as deeper insight about life and the world. Glenn-Copeland is quite the gentle guide in this regard. The documentary is a true testament to both Glenn-Copeland’s fearlessness and wisdom, as well as Dixon’s empathetic camera. And this is perhaps the best distillation of both Glenn-Copeland and the documentary of his life: fearless and full of empathy.
Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story
Dir. Posy Dixon
Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story is available to stream through NewFest now until Tuesday, 10/27 .
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