No Ordinary Man (film)

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No Ordinary Man
Directed byAisling Chin-Yee
Chase Joynt
Written byAisling Chin-Yee
Amos Mac
Produced bySarah Spring
CinematographyLéna Mill-Reuillard
Edited byAisling Chin-Yee
Music byRich Aucoin
Billy Tipton
Parabola Films
Distributed byOscilloscope, Radiant Films International, Les Films du 3 mars
Release date
  • September 10, 2020 (2020-09-10) (TIFF)[1]
Running time
80 minutes
Box office$15,508[2][3]

No Ordinary Man is a Canadian documentary film, directed by Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt, and written by Aisling Chin-Yee and Amos Mac.[4] It is a portrait of Billy Tipton, the jazz musician who was revealed after his death to have been transgender.[5][6]

The film's production was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. However, as principal photography was already completed, it mainly affected tasks such as editing and post-production work that could be done remotely.[5]

The film premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival.[7] It was subsequently screened at the 2020 Inside Out Film and Video Festival, where it won the award for Best Canadian Film.[8]

Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired U.S. rights to No Ordinary Man.

Critical response[edit]

For Now and The Georgia Straight, Kevin Ritchie praised the film, writing that its "overlapping realizations create a complex portrait while making No Ordinary Man as much about the present as it is about the past. [It] ultimately builds to a moving and surprising climax in which the empathetic trans views of Tipton are finally able to eclipse the parochial tabloid tale."[9]

The film was named to TIFF's year-end Canada's Top Ten list for feature films.[10]

In The New Yorker, Richard Brody writes: "In No Ordinary Man, the directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt go fascinatingly, probingly further, to question the very prospect of making a biographical film about their subject, the trans jazz musician Billy Tipton. No Ordinary Man, in that sense, is a genre unto itself, a meta-biographical film about a musician who earned his place in history posthumously, for reasons that he carefully avoided revealing throughout his life."[11]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2021 Directors Guild of Canada Allan King Award for Best Documentary Film Chase Joynt, Aisling-Chin Yee Nominated [12]
2022 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Documentary No Ordinary Man Nominated [13]


  1. ^ "No Ordinary Man". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  2. ^ "No Ordinary Man (2021)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  3. ^ "No Ordinary Man (2021)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  4. ^ Pat Mullen, "‘Inconvenient Indian’, ‘New Corporation’, ‘No Ordinary Man’ Rep Canadian Docs in TIFF Line-up". Point of View, July 30, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Pat Mullen, "Canada at Cannes: Documentary in the Time of COVID". Point of View, June 25, 2020.
  6. ^ Knegt, Peter (31 March 2021). "The media tainted the story of trans jazz musician Billy Tipton. This film wants to tell his truth". CBC Arts. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  7. ^ Victoria Ahearn, "TIFF announces all 50 titles for pandemic-tailored 2020 event" Archived 2020-10-31 at the Wayback Machine. Toronto Star, July 30, 2020.
  8. ^ "Inside Out LGBT film fest reveals prize winners early". Toronto Star, October 5, 2020.
  9. ^ Kevin Ritchie, "VIFF review: No Ordinary Man, about jazz musician and trans icon Billy Tipton, packs an emotional wallop". The Georgia Straight, September 19, 2020.
  10. ^ Victoria Ahearn, "Toronto International Film Festival releases Top Ten lists for 2020" Archived 2021-01-04 at the Wayback Machine. Squamish Chief, December 9, 2020.
  11. ^ No Ordinary Man, Reviewed: Portrait of an Artist Enduring Transphobia After His Death The New Yorker, July 16, 2021.
  12. ^ Kelly Townsend, "All My Puny Sorrows leads film nominees for 2021 DGC Awards". Playback, September 24, 2021.
  13. ^ "The Nominees for the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards". GLAAD. 2022-01-21. Retrieved 2022-01-22.

External links[edit]