Russell Tovey's 'Life is Excellent' Celebrates His Queer Artist Ancestors

Russell Tovey's 'Life is Excellent' Celebrates His Queer Artist Ancestors

Russell Tovey, UK-based actor and producer, today released the trailer for his new project, Life is Excellent, a feature-length documentary chronicling the inimitable life of one of his heroes, David Robilliard — a radical queer poet and artist who died of AIDS at the young age of 36 in 1988.

“As a 40-year-old queer man I feel the responsibility to make sure that [historical documents of existence] that matter to me and my kind, actually matter to everyone,” Tovey explains of this archival project.

The documentary's subject, artist David Robbiliard, was igniting the queer art scene in London long before Tovey had even turned double digits, but as Tovey explores the fiery life of the man he never met, and "who [Robbiliard] drank with, worked with and shagged," Tovey uncovers the impact of characters you never get the chance to meet and the legacy of late 19th-century queer artists as trailblazers, cherished ancestors and ultimately, an unlucky generation whose stories were cut short by an unforgiving epidemic.

Tovey embarks on this artistic mission in partnership with WePresent, the arts platform of WeTransfer, after the company’s successful year-long collaborations with artists Marina Abramović and Solange Knowles. Through this collaboration, Tovey and WePresent aim to bring attention to archival works while examining their resonance today.

Tovey's guest curatorship with WePresent will include work on a total of three projects this summer, with Life Is Excellent being the first. Each project promises to share a culturally significant narrative from the LGBTQ+ community.

Holly Fraser, editor-in-chief of WePresent, says: "[Tovey] shares WeTransfer’s belief that the power of creativity can truly change the world, and I hope that through this curatorship on WePresent and the projects that form it we can further the conversation around the importance of inclusivity and reflect on some of the great artists who have paved the way for this to continue in the industry.”

Check out the Life is Excellent trailer below.

Photos courtesy of WeTransfer