Back To The Zone uncovers the largely undocumented roots of House music in Toronto, focusing on the first nightclub to import underground nightlife culture; The Twilight Zone. At a time when draconian liquor laws forced licensed establishments to close at 1AM, the Zone opted instead for an all ages format which allowed them the freedom to stay open all night, cultivating a badly needed, fresh new vibe for a city starved by conservatism.
The Zone first opened it’s doors in 1980 in the nearly empty, factory filled, garment district of Toronto’s Downtown, which years later became zoned as the city’s Entertainment District. During it’s incredible nine year run, the Zone became a mecca for a dedicated, eclectic clientele that included a solid mix of straight and gay; a multi-cultural movement where only the music mattered. The Zone featured some of the world’s biggest House Disc Jockeys and helped build a scene for years to come.
The film features previously unseen and extremely rare archival footage shot during the last night of the Zone in 1989, along with footage taken the last night of New York City’s Paradise Garage, the original inspiration for the Zone, and the template for it’s iconic sound system, designed by Richard Long.
Back To The Zone contains interviews with the original club’s owners, along with a plethora of Toronto’s legendary House music DJs, promoters and Twilight Zoners, past and present. During the journey we discover where House music was created, how the Twilight Zone shaped the future of Toronto’s nightlife scene for years to come, and why it all mattered.