"The ... alarm for sure went off in my head when I first heard about it," says Ashleigh Ball, reflecting on Bronies – grown men who are deeply devoted to the animated series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic – in the new documentary, A Brony Tale.
Ball voices the characters of Rainbow Dash and Applejack in the series, and has become a somewhat reluctant Brony magnet. The film, which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and has its Canadian premiere at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver on Sunday, follows Ball as she considers an invitation to BronyCon, the world's largest dedicated fan event for this eclectic group.
Ball – who also sings with the Vancouver-based band Hey Ocean! – is charming, but the real stars of director Brent Hodge's debut feature (acquired by Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame) are the bronies themselves. Guys like Dustykatt, the self-described manliest Brony in the world, who urges viewers to give the stigmatized group the benefit of the doubt. "They aren't weird, deviant people. All they are are people who like a cartoon show."