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Circus Boy
A documentary by Lester Alfonso

52 minutes, color, 2021

Watch on Apple TV



In today's world, what is family? This question is explored in the documentary Circus Boy, about a gay man named Thomas who seeks reconciliation with his mother after he and his husband, Michael, adopt a boy he's training for circus school.

Thomas is an avid believer that the circus is accessible to all people, and he takes joy from helping others find their flow by developing circus skills. He coaches 17 different circus disciplines to all age groups, with his primary love being the challenging Cyr Wheel. When their adoptive son Ethan came into their lives, Thomas and Michael fell in love all over again. And Ethan has a natural talent for the Cyr. But now, Thomas is nervous about introducing Ethan to his visiting mother, who wants to meet Ethan’s 'bio-mom' and have a chat.

What emerges from this fraught situation is the story of an unconventional family that chooses an alternate path to love and parenthood. Challenging our social norms, the film embraces inclusion as we see how some can work out their problems through circus arts – and acceptance.

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"A sweet, unflinching look at an alternative type of family who love and care for each other deeply. There are many lovely moments in the film." - David-Elijah Nahmod, Bay Area Reporter

"A terrific documentary about Thomas, a gay man in Canada, who with his husband Michael, adopts Ethan, a youth Thomas is training in circus arts. The film focuses on Thomas' mother meeting Ethan - as well as Ethan's birth mother - for the first time. There are heartfelt scenes of Thomas explaining his relationship with Ethan to his mom, as well as Ethan discussing his comfort with and benefit from the arrangement. What emerges is a thoughtful discussion of the relationships that parents have with their children - Thomas talks about his own issues with his father - as well as the importance of Thomas being a mentor and male role model to Ethan, his protégé. Circus Boy also features some hypnotic scenes of Ethan and Thomas on the Cyr Wheel, and it ends with a performance by father and son that beautifully illustrates their loving bond." - San Francisco Bay Times

"A quietly impactful work looking at the relationship between a circus trainer and his young protege and adoptive son. The film captures both their artistry as well as the inspiration they impart on both their mothers who witness the bond and parenting between the man and his son." - BlogTalkRadio

"Thought-provoking and heart-warming. Highly recommended!" - Queer Guru


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