The Least We Can Do
Filmmaker Moira Simpson worked with members of the Women Refugees Advocacy Project to create The Least We Can Do.
On August 3, 2014, ISIS terrorists began a campaign of genocide against the Yazidi, a religious minority in Northern Iraq. They murdered the men, forced the boys into ISIS military training camps, and enslaved the women and girls subjecting them to torture and rape in a fate that Yazidi survivor and Nobel Laureate Nadia Murad described as “worse than death.”
The Least We Can Do follows a small group of women in British Columbia, Canada, who are relieved when the Canadian government votes to bring Yazidi women and girls as refugees to Canada and provide them with comprehensive trauma care for their unimaginable suffering.
The women are horrified to later discover the government has not followed through on all its promises. The Yazidi were brought to Canada and then neglected. Trauma services are inadequate, unplanned and failing. As the group urges the government to keep its promise, they encounter unexpected support along the way.
Featuring Adiba, Yazidi survivor, Rev. Majed El Shaffie, founder of One Free World International, Senator Mobina Jaffer and MP Jenny Kwan. The action takes place in Vancouver and Ottawa, and is illuminated through text and photographs from the war in Northern Iraq and news stories in Canada, US, Germany and the Middle East.
Film Festival Official Selections
• Yorkton Film Festival 2021 – Saskatchewan, Canada. Nominated for a Golden Sheaf Award.
• Europa Film Festival (5th edition) – Barcelona, Spain
• Montreal Independent Film Festival 2021 – Winner of their monthly Best Feature Documentary award. Screened on the Toronto Film Channel.
• Toronto International Women Film Festival 2021, Honorable Mention
• Courage Film Festival 2021 – Berlin, Germany
• One World Refugee Film Festival 2020 – Ottawa, online screening & discussion
• International Women’s Day 2021, online screening and discussion, sponsored by Powell River Film Festival and Powell River Council for Arts & Culture
• Venice Shorts 2021 – Venice, California. Monthly selection. Screened on the L.A. Independent Film Channel.
• Bridge Fest – Winner of Best Documentary Feature Film 2020
• Boden International Film Festival – Boden, Sweden. April 2021 Finalist
• Compassion Film Festival – Carbondale, Colorado, USA
• Vancouver Independent Film Festival – Vancouver, Canada. Winner of the May 2021 Best Feature Documentary award.
• LA Independent Women Film Awards 2021
• Capital Filmmakers Festival Berlin 2021, Semi-Finalist
• Ontario International Film Festival – Toronto, Ontario
• Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift – Toronto, Ontario. Winner of the August 2021 Best Short Women’s Issue Film award.
• Worldwide Women’s Film Festival 2022 – Phoenix, Arizona, USA
The Least We Can Do premiered at Ottawa’s One World Refugee Film Festival online across Canada. The screening was followed by a panel discussion and Q&A The Clock is Ticking: The Urgent Situation Unfolding for the Yazidi. See The Clock is Ticking, for a summary of the panelists’ recommendations for humanitarian action.
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. Early in her career, Mo directed the Feeling Yes, Feeling No series, an empowerment program for children produced by the National Film Board. The educational sexual abuse prevention program was implemented throughout Canada and adopted by other countries for use in their schools. 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 also DOP and location sound recordist on the National Film Board’s Finding Dawn, directed by Christine Welsh, a journey into the dark heart of Indigenous women’s experience in Canada.
Mo has worked on many projects, such as Telling the Stories of the Nikkei, a multi-faceted community based web project on the Japanese Internment in New Denver, BC, in the Kootenays area during the Second World War. While in New Denver, Mo was director, writer, 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.
More recently, Mo travelled with director Christine Welsh and co-producer Liz Vibert to Jopi Village in South Africa and was cinematographer and location sound recordist on The Thinking Garden, telling the inspiring story of South African women sowing the seeds of change. She also edited the film. The Thinking Garden won a Matrix award at Vancouver’s Women in Film Festival and has been shown throughout Canada and Europe as well as in Kuala Lumpur, and by the United Nations in Jordan, including several Refugee Camps. It was broadcast throughout South Africa.
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: Demonstration gegen ISIS-Massaker, strassenstriche.net, Creative Commons, Attribution – NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)