DOC BC PRESENTS: New Faces In Town

DOC BC is proud to present a panel discussion with three emerging Vancouver-based filmmakers who have met with success in the past year. Join us for an evening with Jeff Topham (Liberia 77), Joel Heath (People of a Feather) and Stephen Gillis (This Wrestling Life), moderated by Nimisha Mukerji (65_RedRoses).

Each filmmaker will tell the story of his film’s journey from idea to screen to success story, and answer your questions about how he overcame the production, financing and marketing hurdles documentarians face today. Please join us!


7:00pm, Thursday, April 12th 2012
VIVO Media Arts Centre
1965 Main Street, Vancouver

non-members $10 – students $5 – members free


Vancouver based writer, photographer and documentary filmmaker Jeff Topham has fought bugs in the Amazon, ridden camels in Timbuktu, talked African politics with George Clooney, fished with David Suzuki, and tailed William Shatner around a Star Trek convention.  He recently directed his first feature length documentary for the Knowledge Network – the award-winning Liberia ’77.  Other TV credits he’s proud of include Eat St. for the Food Channel; the CTV Olympics documentary series The Difference MakersCarbon Hunters – a documentary for CBC/BBC on carbon offsetting, and the award-winning CBC teen activism series Make Some Noise.  A frequent contributor to Westworld magazine, he once spent six months producing TV news in Accra, Ghana with Journalists for Human Rights.  Jeff also enjoys surfing, guitars, cheeseburgers, wine gums, and the work of actresses Léa Seydoux and Jessica Chastain.


Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Joel Heath has long nurtured passion for both arts and science. A leading Canadian ecologist, Joel worked in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut studying effects of climate change on Arctic sea ice ecology. For his Ph.D. Joel worked with Inuit, developing time lapse monitoring technology and an under-water camera system to capture the world’s first images of eiders diving below the sea ice. This led to Joel’s involvement in BBC’s Planet Earth: Ice Worlds and Frozen Planet. Joel has been leading one of Canada’s largest International Polar Year outreach projects. His research was recently published as the cover story in Proceedings of the Royal Society.

During his time in the Arctic Joel listened to the Inuit tell stories of a troubled future due to neighbouring hydroelectric dams. To help share these stories Joel collaborated with the community of Sanikiluaq to found Sanikiluaq Running Pictures and began a five-year process to create his first feature documentary, People of a Feather.


Stephen Gillis is an independent writer/director and producer based out of Vancouver, BC. A former theatre actor turned assistant director, after a stint on Allan Moyle’s Canadian cult film New Waterford Girl, Stephen moved west to Vancouver from Nova Scotia at age twenty to continue a career as a filmmaker. A hands-on learner, Gillis taught himself the craft while working as a projectionist at 5th Avenue Cinemas in Vancouver.

Stephen would go on to develop his sleek and sharp directing style over the next decade with short films, music videos, live concerts, and commercials. He has worked with some of the top musicians in the industry including Grammy award winners Wilco and GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan, Juno Award winners Dan Mangan and Sam Roberts, and most recently directing music videos for Vancouver based up and coming hip-hop artists, Friends With The Help and Corvid.

His debut feature length documentary This Wrestling Life (Make Believe Media), began production in July ’08. An observational style documentary that follows the stories of three aspiring professional wrestlers and one veteran as they each chase their dreams over the course of a year and a half. Included as a part of Super Channel’s GEM Collection, This Wrestling Life debuted nationally in Canada in August 2010, and was released via iTunes in the United States in summer 2011.


Nimisha Mukerji is a Gemini nominated producer/director based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Her debut feature was the critically acclaimed documentary 65_RedRoses (produced by Force Four Entertainment), which was officially selected as one of the first acquisitions for Oprah Winfrey’s Documentary Club 2011. It will have its American broadcast premiere on OWN this year. 65_RedRoses is currently being distributed by PBS International Worldwide, and won the 2010 Banff World Television Award for Best Canadian Program, following its broadcast premiere on CBC’s The Passionate Eye. For her work on the film Nimisha was awarded the 2010 Don Haig Award for Emerging Filmmakers at the Hot Docs International Film Festival, the 2010 Mendocino Award for Emerging Filmmakers and the 2009 Artist Merit Award from Women in Film Vancouver. Nimisha also received a nomination for Best Direction in Documentary Program at the 2010 Gemini Awards.

Nimisha’s is currently producing/directing The Coconut (recipient of the 2009 Omni Cultural Diversity Award and Super Channel Feature Documentary Award), which is in development, and Blood Relative.

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