Documentary filmmaker Moira Simpson, working with the women of the Women Refugees Advocacy Project, is making a film about our journey as we struggle to understand what’s happening to the Yazidi and how to help.
The film will include a focus on trauma and recovery; Rev. Majed El Shafie and Yazidi women as they speak out on the plight of Yazidi women and girl refugees; and the evolution of the trauma care petition.
Moira Simpson’s work as an award-winning freelance director, cinematographer and editor of documentaries spans more than 40 years and encompasses many National Film Board of Canada, independent and television docs. Her work in film and video has always been informed by a passionate belief that film can be a powerful impetus for social justice.
The subjects of docs Mo has directed range from Marker of Change: the Story of the Women’s Monument, about the creation of a national women’s monument remembering all women who have been murdered, and naming the 14 women murdered in the Montreal Massacre to Kosovo: Fragile Peace, featuring Carolyn McCool, a Vancouver Human Rights lawyer, and her twenty-year-old daughter Kate. Carolyn was Director of Democratisation in war-ravaged Kosovo. Mo was DOP and location sound recordist on the National Film Board’s Finding Dawn, a journey into the dark heart of Native women’s experience in Canada.
Mo worked on The Stories of the Nikkei, a multi-faceted community based web project telling the story of the Japanese Internment in New Denver in the Kootenays during the Second World War. While in New Denver, Mo was director, camera, and editor of Falling From the Sky. Surrounded by the beauty of the Slocan Valley, artist Tsuneko Kokubo (Koko) dances her memories of being bombed while she was stranded in Japan during the war.
Mo has also worked on a number of performance/ dance based films. For example, she was director/camera/editor on So Kat’ta where two women from different cultures and generations explore the beauty of nature and water in a dance journey through joy, devastation and light, and she was cinematographer/ editor on Portals, a sci-fi dystopic performance fantasy directed by Margaret Dragu.
More recently, Mo travelled with director Christine Welsh and co-producer Liz Vibert to Jopi Village in South Africa and was DOP and location sound recordist on The Thinking Garden, telling the inspiring story of South African women seeking food justice. Later she edited the film. The Thinking Garden won a Matrix award at last year’s Women in Film Festival and has been shown throughout Europe as well as in Kuala Lumpur, and by the United Nations in Jordan, including several Refugee Camps.
Mo has taught filmmaking at UBC, Emily Carr and SFU and has given filmmaking workshops across Canada, as well as in the Arctic and Nairobi, Africa.
Header image credit: Banchi Hanuse
(Moira Simpson filming Finding Dawn, directed by Christine Welsh, a National Film Board of Canada production)