TORONTO — A documentary on the case of Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur and his victims is set to premiere on CBC later this month.
“Village of the Missing,” debuting on “CBC Docs POV” on March 22, looks at how McArthur chose his victims as well as their cultural backgrounds and ties to the city’s gay village.
Michael Del Monte directed the film, which will debut the same day on the CBC Gem streaming service.
It includes interviews with journalists reporting on the case and seeks to answer “why so many ‘brown-skinned’ men were lost to McArthur.”
McArthur, a self-employed landscaper, pleaded guilty in January to eight counts of first-degree murder for men he killed between 2010 and 2017.
The 67-year-old was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
“Six of his eight victims were brown-skinned men from South Asian or Middle Eastern descent, many recent immigrants and several closeted gay men,” says a news release for the film.
“This documentary uses the McArthur story as a springboard to reveal the immense and unspoken pressures that many gay men from South Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds must live with.”
Del Monte directed the 2017 doc “Transformer,” about a father, ex-marine and world-record powerlifter who goes through a sex change. The film won the Rogers Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary at last year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.
With “Village of the Missing,” Del Monte travelled to Turkey “to witness an ‘underground gay railway’ to Canada,” he said in a statement.
“What we saw was a place where literally thousands of gay men are fleeing from various countries, only to end up in places like The Village. I think this film will open many eyes, and likely enlighten people as to why the police were so stymied by this case.”
Del Monte added that he “didn’t want to explore the psychological state of a monstrous human being like McArthur.
“I wanted this film to challenge our way of thinking about the cultural pressures that exist inside the gay community. If you go missing, who is going to speak up for you? Who is going to ensure you are found?”