BIFF YEAR ’ROUND Fall 2022

Wednesday, Nov 23rd, 6:30 PM, 2022
Downtown Beloit Association Office
557 E. Grand Ave. Downtown Beloit

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Fri Mar 1, 2019 – 7:30 pm | La Casa Grande
Sat Mar 2, 2019 – 5:00 pm | Domenico’s

Dear Audrey

Directed by Jeremiah Hayes
Documentary Feature
Canada | 89 min | 2021

Acclaimed activist filmmaker Martin Duckworth has devoted his life to peace and justice. But now he’s put down his camera to fight for the most important cause he’s ever faced—caring for his wife, Audrey Schirmer, through the final stages of Alzheimer’s. Martin tirelessly embraces each new chapter with grace and resilience, demonstrating his unconditional loyalty as he finds new reasons to love her each day.
Dear Audrey intricately weaves together the couple’s gritty yet tender reality, and takes us back to their adventures, from the front lines of the anti-Vietnam War protests to the hippie counterculture movement, with excerpts from Martin’s films and Audrey’s stunning photography.
The film is a powerful testament to Martin’s love and devotion, which deepens over the decades.
While Audrey gradually fades away—and as their autistic daughter Jacqueline struggles with her mother’s illness—Martin commits everything he’s got to making their lives creative and meaningful.

AWARDS

Winner of the People’s Choice Award
Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), 2021

The Best Feature Documentary Award
Indy Film Fest, 2022

The Cercle d’or for Best Feature Documentary Award
Sherbrooke World Film Festival, 2022

The Grand Prix Documentary Award
Rising Sun International Film Festival, 2022

The Silver Award for Best Feature Documentary
Tokyo Film Awards, 2022

The Dr. Sydney K. Shapiro Humanitarian Award
Phoenix Film Festival, 2022

The Best Editing of a Documentary Award
Madrid International Film Festival, 2022

The Excellence in Editing Award
Docs Without Borders Film Festival, 2022

The Best Editing Award
Brussels World Film Festival, 2022

REVIEWS

“Truly a rare moment in Cinema… This film is a marvel”
Mélikah Abdelmoumen & Marc Béland, CBC Radio Canada

“An Exquisite Gem. Tenderness, wonder, & dignity…
a beautiful film about beautiful people”
Richard Propes, The Independent Critic

“Anyone who watches Dear Audrey will undoubtedly conclude
that Hayes is a masterful filmmaker”
Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight

“Touching… luminous… truly magnificent”
Caroline Levesque, CBC Radio Canada

“Dear Audrey, a riveting documentary…
that stands as a powerful paean to passion and perseverance”
Evelyn C White, The Halifax Examiner

“…so many amazing lessons, stories, emotions with pain
and celebration intertwined”
Darren Wiesner, Hollywood North Magazine

“It’s impossible to watch this documentary, (a People’s Choice Award winner), without being overwhelmed by its sweetness and generosity”
Silvia Galipeau, La Press

“…an at once ethereal reflection on the enduring power of love,
and unblinking revelation of life’s steel-cold realities”
Chris Cook, Gorilla Radio

“The central force of Dear Audrey is the eternal, almost implacable force of love that binds people together through the most difficult times”
Dorothy Woodend, The Tyee

“Dear Audrey celebrates the very best the human heart has to offer, with such compassion, artistry and grace”
Terre Nash, Oscar-winning director

“A Stunning Love Story You Won’t Soon Forget!”
Indy Film Fest

“This love story will bring you joy, hope, tears and humility…”
Dr. Jen Hammersmark, Mind Your Madness

“…a beautiful homage to Audrey, to the couple’s
love and their family”
Nantali Indongo, CBC Radio

“Beautiful, touching … ‘Dear Audrey’ is a testament to
what Audrey was and what she remains forever”
Rob Wilson, The Bobr Times

“Poignant and could not be more authentic”
Amandine de Chanteloup, Le Collectif

My very first job after film school was with Martin Duckworth. It was 1991 at the National Film Board of Canada and I was the assistant editor on Martin’s film about the first Gulf War, Peacekeeper at War. From the beginning, Martin’s uncompromising resolve to speak his truth through his films inspired me. We remained in touch ever since, but it wasn’t until four years ago, (after his wife Audrey Shirmer’s diagnoses with Alzheimer’s), that our friendship started to grow. Every few weeks, I would go to their house and film them together with their autistic daughter Jacqueline. At each visit, I was moved by this families’ raw and uncompromising authenticity of character. I had no doubt that this would resonate on film. In the following years, I also learned of the many adventurous and sometimes tragic events of Martin’s fascinating life story.
Even though Martin faced a near-death car accident in Mexico and witnessed carnage while filming on the front lines of war-torn countries around the world, he remained optimistic.

Through hardship and death, Martin has developed a keen sense of the preciousness of every moment of life. This is something I also learned to appreciate after my mother’s prolonged battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease in the nineties. Like Martin, my experiences living with illness and death transformed my priorities in life. Living through this, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. I’m making Dear Audrey as a tribute to Audrey, Martin and his family. As we collectively pause during this new COVID era, we reset what’s important and turn with urgency towards living. In this spirit, Dear Audrey is a timely gift, a reminder of the choices we make, the families we create, and an invitation for all of us to take better care of each other.

Dear Audrey - Poster

Dear Audrey - Jeremiah HayesJeremiah Hayes
Director

Jeremiah Hayes is both a Canadian Screen Award and Gemini Award winning director, editor, and writer whose filmmaking is honored by a prestigious Peabody Award. He is most noted as co-director, co-writer and the editor of the film Reel Injun, for which he won the Gemini Award for Best Direction in a Documentary Program at the 25th Gemini Awards in 2010. Hayes is also recognized for his work editing Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, for which he won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Editing in a Documentary at the 6th Canadian Screen Awards in 2018. Reel Injun went on to win a Peabody Award for Best Electronic Media in 2011 and Rumble won the Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017. In 2020, Rumble received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary. In 2021, Reel Injun is featured in the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures core exhibition of the Stories of Cinema.

Film Information

Director: Jeremiah Hayes
Country: Canada
Year: 2021
Language: English
Runtime: 89 min
Rated: PG

Credits

Writer: Jeremiah Hayes
Producers: Jeremiah Hayes
Key Cast:Martin Duckworth

Connect With This Film

BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival