Christine Welsh: Director, Co-Writer, Co-Producer
Metis filmmaker Christine Welsh was born and raised in Saskatchewan and studied filmmaking at the University of Regina with the late Jean Oser. She began work in the film industry as an assistant editor on Allan King’s prairie classic Who Has Seen the Windand worked as a film editor in Toronto for ten years before moving to Vancouver Island in 1989. Christine wrote and produced her first film, Women in the Shadows, in 1991 and has gone on to direct, write and produce several other award-winning films that document the experience of Indigenous women in Canada. They include Keepers of the Fire (1994), The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters (2000), and Finding Dawn (NFB, 2006), a feature-length documentary on the epidemic of murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada. Christine’s films have been broadcast nationally on CBC, CTV and APTN, and have been featured at major film festivals in Canada, the U.S., France, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the 51st United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York. In 2009, her body of work was honoured with the WIFTV (Women in Film and Television Vancouver) Artistic Achievement Award for filmmaking excellence in telling women’s stories. In addition to her filmmaking, Christine has spoken widely and published a number of articles that have appeared in Canadian Literature, Descant, Feminisms in the Cinema, and Screening Culture: Constructing Image and Identity. She is an Associate Professor Emerita in the Department of Gender Studies at the University of Victoria where she taught courses in Indigenous Women’s Studies and Indigenous Cinema.
Elizabeth Vibert: Researcher, Co-Writer, Co-Producer
Elizabeth Vibert is an historian and writer whose main interests are gender, poverty, food security, and colonialism. For six years Elizabeth has been doing community work and research in rural South Africa. Her relationship with the women at a cooperative vegetable garden there is the source of many recent activities: the film The Thinking Garden, which Elizabeth researched, co-wrote and co-produced with director Christine Welsh; advocacy work for small-scale farmers; the University of Victoria’s Colonial Legacies Field School in South Africa, which she founded and directs; a grower-to-grower exchange network between small-scale farmers in Southern Africa and Southern Vancouver Island (in formation); a local food-garden tour in the Victoria area; public talks on women and poverty, small-scale farming, and food security; scholarly and popular articles; and a book exploring older women’s life histories under apartheid and democracy (in progress). Elizabeth’s writings on Canadian Aboriginal and Southern African history have appeared in Gender and History, The Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Ethnohistory, The Globe and Mail, Active History, and other journals and anthologies. Elizabeth teaches history at the University of Victoria.
Moira Simpson: Cinematographer and editor
Moira Simpson has over thirty years experience as an award-winning freelance director, cinematographer and editor. Her work in film, video and new media has always been informed by a passionate belief that film can be a powerful impetus for social justice. Work on NFB and independent projects has taken her to Kosovo, several African countries, and Peru. Mo has mentored many young filmmakers, teaching workshops across Canada and in the Arctic and teaching film production at UBC, SFU and Emily Carr University. An unfamiliar language, xiTsonga, provided new challenges in The Thinking Garden, and it was with Basani Ngobeni’s collaboration as Assistant Director that the team was ultimately able to bring this story to the screen.
Basani Ngobeni: Assistant Director
Basani Ngobeni grew up in a village near Jopi, where The Thinking Garden was filmed. She has been Elizabeth Vibert’s research collaborator and interpreter for five years, and her skills, expertise, and local knowledge were indispensable to the production of the film. Basani is now studying communications and filmmaking for community development in Pretoria, South Africa.
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