These are the wonderful people (apart from crew members) who agreed to be interviewed for this film. We are eternally grateful for their participation.
In his own words:
My friendship [with Sean] has been primarily vicarious through his deep affection for my wife Elise, and hers for him. No other person can cause the love of my life to walk taller and with a gloriously unique glimmer in her eye than Sean; for that alone I love him, and am grateful. It has been that way since I met the two of them in high school. I was a student athlete back then, often mistaken as part of the jocks, the machismo crowd. And though a good part of me fit that role, I was fortunate to be raised well.
In Sean I felt a connection through humour, a predilection for Teenage Beer Drinking Parties, and an admiration for his Dad’s vast porn collection. I didn’t care then as to what his father was trying to steer Sean to (or away from), just awed by the willingness to let my 15 year old self come over, drink beer, and watch some naughty, naughty films.
I also felt a need to protect Sean - something I maybe never shared with him then, and a feeling that I’ve never relinquished. When I discovered through Elise of Sean’s near death encounter, it wasn’t surprise I felt but more of a confirmation of anxieties and a guilt for not being there. His strength and conviction in the time since, his battles with the associated demons, and his willingness to put himself “out there” has been a personal inspiration for my own recovery from Depression and Alcoholism. I’m grateful to him and blessed to call him a friend.
Besides... he was, is, and continues to be: funny as fuck.
Catherine McDonald is Global News Toronto’s veteran crime reporter. Catherine worked as a reporter in Red Deer, Alberta and Victoria, BC before moving to Toronto in November 2000 where she has worked at Global for the past 19 years. She began reporting exclusively on crime shortly after covering the release of Karla Homolka from prison in 2005.
A graduate of McGill University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Catherine has covered some of the biggest crime stories in the Greater Toronto Area over the years, including the disappearance and murder of 10-year-old Holly Jones in 2003, the murder of Markham woman Alicia Ross in 2005, the Bruce McArthur serial killer investigation and the murders of billionaires Honey and Barry Sherman.
Spending a lot of time in court, some of the notable trials she won’t forget include the trial of two Mississauga sisters convicted of first-degree murder after drowning their mother in a bathtub in 2002, the trial of a Toronto anaesthesiologist convicted of sexually assaulting 21 women while they were sedated on the operating room table between 2006 and 2010 and the trial of three Toronto police officers charged with gang sexual assault. More recently, Catherine has covered the trial of a man found guilty of driving while drunk and stoned – killing a young father who was the son-in-law of a senior officer from York Regional Police – and the guilty plea and sentencing of a once well-respected lawyer who was married to a Justice of the Peace from Newmarket, who was convicted of bigamy and forging divorce documents.
When not chasing bad guys and telling the stories of the victims left behind, Catherine can be found at the gym or at the playground chasing after her two little girls aged 4 and 6.
Dave has been a police officer with the Toronto Police Service since 2001. From very early in his career Dave was working investigative cases in a divisional investigative unit. In 2009, after a temporary position in the Homicide Squad, Dave decided that the investigations of Homicides was what he wanted to focus on. Dave was promoted to Sergeant in 2010 and invited back to the Homicide Squad in 2014 as a permanent member. In 2017, Dave was asked to oversee a missing persons investigation that would turn into Project PRISM, which led to the arrest and conviction of Bruce McArthur. At the conclusion of project PRISM, Dave decided to try something new and is currently a K9 handler with the service.
In her own words:
Sean and I met in 1980. I had moved to Dundas from Sarnia on Aug 28th of that year. I was 13 and going into Grade 8. New town, new school, no friends. I was terrified. Most of that year is a blur. I was let in to the fold pretty quickly at St Augustine's. We were fast friends. I don't remember our first meeting. What I do remember is that it was just "right". Some people just come in to your life and stay there. I have always felt safe around Sean and I could always be myself. I remember being in the sauna at his home in Greensville and watching horror movies in the basement of the house that was spitting distance from a cemetery. Good times.
I was his date for his high school prom. I slept over at his house afterwards without calling my mom. She still reminds me of that. Then there is my first and only spring break in Florida with him when we were 18. What happens in Ft. Lauderdale stays in Ft. Lauderdale (even 35 yrs later). When he finally came out to me we were in my bedroom in Oakville. It was my second year of college. 1987 I think? He was visiting for the weekend. It was really just a formality but I listened and was so honoured to hear it from him directly. I knew how important it was for him to go through that process. He slept over at my house that time.
We have been in and out of each other's lives for 40 years now. Sometimes losing contact for months at a time but always showing back up. A few years ago we got together in Toronto for the weekend during Pride and I had to send Sean to the store for pads. Who does that? I'm still mortified. He didn't bat an eye. That's friendship. Last year, before Covid was even on our radar we were able to have a dinner for Sean with a group of friends that hadn't seen each other in years. It was a chance to talk about what happened and hear about how it has affected his life and his partner Steve's life in such a monumental way.
Sean has always been a force to be reckoned with. He lives his life on his own terms. I have always admired that. 😀
Frances Hunter graduated St. Mary C.S.S. in 1985 and carried on to A.H.V.S. and The University of Western Ontario (U.W.O.) where she and Sean shared numerous Greyhound Bus rides back to Hamilton. After graduating U.W.O., Frances worked in banking, and later for a social service charitable agency. Since retiring early to focus on her two children and their activities, she now volunteers with a local amateur sports organization and occasionally sells merchandise for a local band. Frances still resides in the Greater Hamilton Area.
Alexandra (Sandy) Cribbin (née Starratt) grew up in Kenora Ontario in an aviation family, the namesake of Starratt Airways, which in the 1940's was purchased by Canadian Pacific and merged into Canadian Pacific Air Lines. After studying at the Winnipeg General Hospital, Sandy worked as a registered nurse in Thompson Manitoba and Toronto Ontario, before taking several years off to raise Sean and his sister Erin. She then worked for the Canadian Red Cross for the remainder of her career. Now retired, Sandy lives in Burlington, Ontario.
In his own words:
When Billy Greer approached me about the documentary project, he asked me what type of vision I had. I told him I understood the fascination with the events and the facts on the day that I narrowly escaped death, but I wanted to concentrate on the process of healing. It was also very important to me that we were respectful of the eight victims, and that the documentary not fall into the trap of glorifying the killer. This is why the killer's name is only used twice, once in the trailer and once in the film itself.
In the process of making the film, I experienced several of what I have come to call "It's a Wonderful Life" moments. I named this phenomenon after the Frank Capra 1939 film because much like the Jimmy Stewart character in the film got to see what the world would look like if he never existed, this traumatic occurrence propelled many people I had known throughout my life to come and tell me stories of some of the positive impacts I had had on their lives. Producer Billy Greer was one of those people, and he returned that to me ten fold, so this could not just be the Sean Cribbin story, when the making of this film has become such a vital part of me moving forward. I will never be the same. I am different in many ways for the better because of this documentary.
The final word from me is to cogitate on your life, think about those that have impacted you in a positive direction and call them today, write an email, text. Let them know. Start today.
Given the amount of screen time allocated to the flock of pigeons that lives behind Sean's house, we decided we should include them as extras (…and it's a fun way to thank all of those people who indirectly helped with the making of this film):