Human Rights and Labour Lawyer
Instructor of Administrative Law, Ryerson University

I first met Jacquie when she taught an Administrative Law course that I picked up at Ryerson in the winter of 2007. Jacquie’s extraordinary gift for teaching had a profound effect on my perception of society, and my desire to inform and educate the public through documentary media. Jacquie challenged me in areas of fairness, equality and justice, including how social justice crimes evolve and why they manifest unchecked. She dared me to consider how poor people cannot claim their human rights (an entitlement in a democracy) because rights are too expensive (you need to pay a lawyer!). How can a democracy function if over 50% of its population is too poor to claim their rights? And, if poverty prevents people from claiming their rights, does this make poverty a crime? How much does poverty ultimately cost the taxpayer? Most significantly, Jacquie taught me that everyone, including myself, is ultimately responsible for the crimes against social justice committed in our country. I have frequently consulted with Jacquie on the blakout project, and she has consistently challenged this work to incorporate the fundamental precepts of integrity.


Ryerson University, Documentary Media

Don’s encouragement, open door policy and meaningful consults have been invaluable to this work. In the classroom, his cubist outlook on world issues challenged students to communicate perspective by creatively incorporating metaphor into documentary. As a consult, Don encouraged this work to excel. He challenged me to fearlessly pursue the truth in any situation, diligently document my findings, and benchmark these findings against unprejudiced principles of fairness. Don has also consulted on this work in areas of integrity and ethics by providing guidance on best practices.


Ryerson University, Director, Documentary Media

As a theorist, Blake has challenged this work’s academic and theoretical foundation, giving blakout a substantive rationale to support the pursuit of truth. His recommended readings for the project (Empathetic Vision by Jill Bennett and Publics and Counterpublics by Michael Warner) have had a significant impact on how research for blakout was compiled. He challenges this documentary to aspire toward a self-reflexive art form that invokes action (affect vs. effect) through empathy (vs. sympathy). By referencing academic writings and finished works, Blake challenged me to justify “speaking on behalf of others”, which in turn determined how the research would be conducted and how the narrative structure of the blakout film would evolve.


Ryerson University, Documentary Media

Gerda is the harshest critic I have ever met in my life (and I think its safe to say I have lived almost half of it). If the worst is yet to come, then Gerda will have to graciously take second place. Harsh criticism – and some people go through life and never receive it – is a gift. Criticism, as hard as it is to swallow, propels you to reach higher by working toward perfecting an important art form. As a film instructor and avant-garde artist, Gerda’s standards are par none and she doesn’t mince words when she corrects and teaches. She demands an eye to detail, from wrapping a cable properly to prevent kinks and damage, to encouraging precision, coherence and creativity throughout the filmic process. Even now, when I see a dust particle on the camera lens or the framing isn’t perfect I find myself thinking, “What would Gerda say?” Gerda’s creativity, demand for perfection, and strong moral standards have challenged this work to do better.