An explorer and a creator from an early age, I was born into a clan of Ulster storytellers. My father was a literary MD with a penchant for drama, while Mom nurtured a lifelong love of antiques, cradling me in a heady genetic dose of storytelling medicine. I have always been captivated by the legend behind a haunting photograph of my great uncle; Captain Oliver Hutchinson, was the business partner to TV’s inventor John Logie Baird, and the first face ever broadcast on TV in the 20’s. At the age of 8, I was writing stories for the school magazine and performing the lead roles in school plays. By the time I was 10, I had lived in four countries on three continents, offering me a unique perspective on the world, and my place in it.
Using both traditional and emerging technology to produce and distribute inspiring stories, I am passionate about exploring the innovative use of media as a tool for community engagement. As a digital media coach, I help creators, leaders and activists to develop their online presence; coaching them through the process of planning, seeding and maintaining their impact garden. My work percolates at the intersection between documentary, content marketing, storytelling and social change.
After studying Radio, Film & TV at Christ Church College, Canterbury, I started my filmmaking career as an assistant film editor at the BBC in London. In 1989, I made Canada my home and fulfilled a lifelong dream to work at the National Film Board in Montreal. I spent the next 25 years editing dozens of award-winning documentaries, including Blue Gold: the Tsilhqot’in Fight for Fish Lake, the first documentary to be used as evidence in a Canadian Federal Land Claim Hearing. Nominated for numerous editing awards and leadership roles, I sat on the Documentary Organization of Canada’s (DOC) National Board of Directors from 2009-2013. In 2011, my work with the Save Mary Lake campaign garnered a nomination for a Westie Award as “Social Media Campaign of the Year”.
In 2003, I founded OPEN CINEMA, a documentary screening program in cafe-style venues followed by discussion with invited guests. In 2009, this popular community building event was referred to as “one of Victoria’s most successful cultural enterprises.” (Michael D. Reid, Times Colonist Newspaper).
In 2013, I invited Canadians to Get on the Doc Bus, a cross Canada journey to explore Canada’s documentary’s digital future. I spent 20 weeks traveling from Mile 0 BC to Mile 0 Newfoundland in my VW Westfalia camper van. I met with over 150 filmmakers, cinemas, festivals and industry organizations to seed a cross Canada community cinema network. This innovative community-building initiative is now evolving into a social enterprise startup; for documentary filmmakers, audiences, cinema hosts and impact partners who are struggling with changing viewing habits, Connect the Docs is an online networking hub that combines the best of live and online cinema with impact in mind. Unlike Netflix, Connect the Docs offers live events, webcast discussions, social media engagement and backend analytics.
When I’m not writing on my laptop, posting on Instagram or watching old movies, I can be found camping in my westfalia (aka the DocBus), swimming in a freshwater lake, exploring the world and drinking tea.
For an online resume, please visit Mandy’s LinkedIn page.