• Rachel Mason says she is happy about her documentary "Circus of Books" receiving a lot of love
  • The documentary tells the story of a gay bookstore that was run by her parents in West Hollywood
  • "Circus of Books" is nominated at this year's Primetime Emmys

Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rachel Mason has opened up about her documentary, “Circus of Books,” and revealed why she chose to make a film about the iconic gay bookstore in West Hollywood with the same name.

Mason, known for her work in visual art and experimental music, was pleasantly surprised with the reception of the feature when it was released on Netflix and explained that she never thought the documentary would get so much love from people.

The documentary has been nominated in the outstanding writing for a non-fiction program category at this year’s Primetime Emmys and will be up against the likes of “Beastie Boys Story,” “Don't F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer,” “McMillion$” and “The Cave” for the accolade.

“When I embarked on the path to making this film ('Circus of Books'), never would I have imagined it climbing to these heights,” Mason said.

Talking further about the project, Mason shared that she made the film as a “tribute” to the iconic Circus of Books store and the LGBTQ+ community. The artist-turned-filmmaker added that she feels really “honored” to be nominated at the Emmys and hopes that the documentary “offers some healing to our world.”

“I made this film as a tribute to the store, to the many people who died of AIDS at the moment when the community was suffering the most, as a way to look at my own family’s journey with acceptance. For it to be given this honor is so powerful because it speaks to the value of telling these stories,” Mason noted.

“Circus of Books” chronicles the journey of Mason’s parents, Karen and Barry, who earned their livelihood by running a gay bookstore. The couple never told anyone about the shop, including Rachel, and lived a sort of double life in managing the bookstore but keeping the details away from their loved ones.

The documentary received universal acclaim and is also considered to be a frontrunner for a best documentary feature nomination at the Academy Awards.

The film currently holds a score of 98% on review site Rotten Tomatoes. The Guardian, in its review, wrote that the documentary includes “enormous humor and tenderness” on top of an absorbing story and gave it four stars.

Apart from critics, celebrities such as Kathy Griffin and Rose McGowan also praised the feature for its content. On Twitter, McGowan called it the “best documentary” she has ever watched and congratulated Mason for making such a thoughtful project.

On the other hand, Griffin called the documentary “iconic” and urged everyone to watch the “touching film.”

“Since it's #PrideMonth2020, I wanted to shoutout @RachelMasonArt for making this beautiful documentary. If you're in Los Angeles, you've definitely heard about Circus of Books! It's iconic. Watch this touching film to get a look behind the scenes. Loved it!” she tweeted.

Rachel Mason
Rachel Mason, director of the documentary "Circus of Books," in a scene from the project Photo by Netflix/Netflix US