Scarlett Bobo is no stranger to the world of television, and she’s set to return to the screen with her documentary “Underneath the Empire,” which was produced by Absolut Vodka in their collaboration for her Absolut Empire’s Ball competition.
The ambitious event was started by Scarlett in 2018 with MoJo Toronto signing on as head judges, and so began a competition for all types of drag to compete in the spirit of diversity and inclusivity. In 2019, Absolut came on board as lead sponsors, and the Absolut Empire’s Ball named the very first Trans and Non-Binary house winners, Rebel Gen (Alexandher Brandy, Babjia Majora, Newfound Lad, Qaptain Kit and Zackey Lime), also donating $10,000 to Rainbow Railroad and $5000 to The 519 Community Center in Toronto.
The film about this incredible competition gives a behind-the-curtain tour of Toronto’s drag scene, showing the impetus and determination for Scarlett’s creation of the Absolut Empire’s Ball and why it is needed in the community.
This is a story of the resilience that went into creating a more inclusive and accepting environment, where all types of drag artists are welcome, in a community that is often stigmatized and marginalized. It was shot in 2019, during the competition by GroupSJR, and saw its theatrical debut at TIFF Lightbox in December of that year.
“This story needed to be told because there are so many, unique, artistic facets of drag that are wonderful in their own way and I wanted to showcase that and bring light to everyone that breathes life into drag,” says Scarlett. “I’m honoured that we were able to tell so many incredible stories through these beautiful entertainers in the documentary.”
Absolut Vodka has been a firm supporter and key driving force behind the documentary. They said, “Since Absolut became the first spirit brand to publicly support the LGBTQ community 40 years ago, we’ve built a legacy of celebrating diversity, acceptance and equality. Today we are proud to stand with, and support, the people that are actively pushing for inclusivity in all facets of our community. This documentary is a true reflection of what that means, a grassroots effort to champion and fight for true inclusivity. Through celebrating the triumphs and overcoming challenges, ‘Underneath the Empire’ is an ode to the resilient and beautiful community it depicts and is a project we are incredibly proud to have been a part of.”
The full documentary will premiere in Canada on Thursday, April 15, 2021, at 8:30 pm ET/PT on OUTtv (streaming on OUTtvGo.com, the OUTtv Amazon Prime Channel, and OUTtv Apple TV Channel from April 14, 2021). It will also be available on April 14th, on Froot.tv in UK/Ireland, and the OUTtv Apple TV Channel in the United States.