Laura Marie Wayne is a musician, scholar and filmmaker from Calgary. She is the first Canadian to graduate from Cuba's renowned cinema school (EICTV) and is the director of Love, Scott (76' 2018), the heartrending documentary which opened to critical acclaim at London's BFI Flare festival and made waves across Canada after premiering at the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto.
Laura works as a documentary director, cinematographer and editor. She holds degrees from Mount Allison University (Canada) and the University College London (UK).
Canada, 2018, 76'.
Following the journey of a young gay musician who is attacked and paralyzed from the waist down, Love, Scott is an intimate and visually evocative window into queer experience, set against a stunning score by Sigur Rós.
In October of 2013, Scott Jones left the bar to walk home, unaware that his life was about to be irrevocably altered. Turning the corner up a street in small town Nova Scotia, Scott was viciously attacked and left paralyzed from the waist down; what follows is a brave and fragile journey of healing and the transformation of a young man’s life.
Accompanying Scott for three years after he was attacked, the film takes us on a poignant and thought-provoking journey as Scott navigates the aftermath of his attack, learns to move through life in a wheelchair and explores forgiveness for his attacker.
At it’s heart, Love, Scott is a story of transformation – bittersweet - at once the death of who Scott was and the birth of a new way of being. Bearing witness to this process, Love, Scott is a finely woven cinematic journey, threading together the most poignant moments captured over three years of filming and pointing us towards the possibility that indeed, “the wound is the place the Light enters us.”
On October 12, 2013, my best friend Scott was attacked. I was living at a remote film school in Cuba, far removed from Canadian news and Internet and any way of knowing this had happened. Almost exactly a year before, Scott had been there with me. He had marveled at the strangeness of the place I was living and together we waited out terrifying electrical storms in my bedroom, climbed the trees lining one of Havana’s busiest boulevards and found ourselves at a crowded café drinking mojitos in the dark when the city’s power went out. Scott was an adventurer, a traveler, and a kindred spirit. When the time came for him to leave and we pulled up to the airport in our ancient, sputtering taxi, I had no idea it would be the last time I would see Scott stand up and walk away.
When Scott was attacked, my mother finally got ahold of me in Cuba and told me through shaky sobs that it was “pretty bad;” Scott’s throat had been slit, his spinal chord had been severed and he was in a hospital in Halifax. What followed next was a tidal wave of shock, rage and finally devastation. I flew to Halifax, terrified, but knowing I needed to be by Scott’s side. I also knew that I needed to bring my camera, even though to film during this time was almost unimaginable. I trekked across Halifax carrying a tripod, camera bag and makeshift microphone and when I finally arrived in Scott’s room and walked nervously around the curtain of his bed, the first thing Scott said was “Laura! Did you bring your camera?”
Over the course of the next year, I would hear news of all the remarkable things Scott was doing in spite of his paralysis. He started the Don’t Be Afraid photo campaign that went viral, began speaking at schools across the province, formed a choir for social change and publicly forgave his attacker. Scott’s courage and positivity were widely celebrated in the media and after naming him one of Atlantic Canada’s most inspiring citizens, the Chronicle Herald wrote that Scott forgave his attacker and “moved on with his life.”
But whenever I would get the chance to speak with Scott directly, I understood another story, one that was private and fragile and colored as much by anguish as bravery. Scott’s life as he knew it was over; everywhere he turned were echoes of profound and irrevocable loss. And buried deep in the heart of his grieving was the wound of not being heard, of not having the reason he is now in a wheelchair acknowledged in a meaningful way: “so much has been taken from me, and that hasn’t been acknowledged… why.” Scott knew he had been targeted as a gay man but police had either failed to investigate his claim or find evidence to substantiate it; no hate crime charges were laid and in the court of law, Scott’s sexual identity was invisible.
The impetus for this film lies in a deep and earnest writing of the truth, Scott’s truth. There have been so many versions of this story - the media's version, the justice system's version - this film is our version.
Over the past four years, I have been a witness. To pain, to trauma and to unimaginable sorrow; to healing, to resilience and to deep, unconditional love. It has been a privilege to bear witness to Scott’s journey and with this privilege came great responsibility. When I sat next to Scott in the hospital, I took a commitment to listen, to learn and to shine a light on the invisibility of queer experience in the Canadian justice system. Now, four years later, we have a film – a sacred document that is Scott’s testimony – a window into the tremendous journey of this magnificent human heart – a film that calls attention to what matters in this short and fragile human life and asks us all to remember the little person that lives inside each one of us.
- Laura Wayne, 2018