How a chance meeting led Michiel Thomas into a world of drugs and murder with 'Gemmel and Tim'

August 15, 2021
Filmmaking, like life, can take extraordinary turns.

For Michiel Thomas, the director of the sports documentaries 'Game Face' and 'That's Wild,' that meant the sudden death of a casual friend. Thomas belonged to the same gay basketball league as Timothy Dean, one of the victims of convicted meth murderer Ed Buck. The shock of Dean's death, coupled with the devastation within their circle of friends, prompted Thomas to begin production on his most harrowing film yet, the documentary 'Gemmel and Tim.' The film has its world premiere at Outfest on August 15.

In 'Gemmel and Tim,' Thomas recreates the lives of Ed Buck's two victims, Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, as well as the events that led up to their murders. Featuring extensive interviews with friends, family, and activists, as well as several of Buck's other victims of abuse, Thomas humanizes Moore and Dean from names in news headlines to three-dimensional, complicated men. Thomas also indicts a system that allowed Ed Buck to continue to operate and avoid arrest following the death of Moore, how Buck's connections to a West Hollywood City Council member may have protected him, and the internal political struggles between the West Hollywood Sherriff and Los Angeles District Attorney that stymied an investigation, and allowed Buck to kill again.

In short, the subject matter of 'Gemmel and Tim' is not for the faint of heart. We caught up with Thomas for one of his first interviews about the film just ahead of the world premiere. 'Gemmel and Tim' debuts at Outfest 2021 on August 15.

Video Editor: David Beerman.