“A Day in the Life” with Vancouver Filmmaker Liz Marshall

It is an honour for me to write a brief bio of my filmmaker daughter, Liz Marshall.

Since early childhood, Liz has been curious and observed people and places with great insight and empathy. In the early 1970s, when our family lived on a communal farm, Liz had a real connection with animals, the land, and living in community. Her Master in Film thesis featured those memories and the people with whom we lived, which then resulted in a feature documentary (Midian Farm, 2019).

Over time, Liz grew to become aware of the bigger world in which we live. An early example of this is the letter she wrote (hand-printed) in grade two to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau demanding actions to end war and feed the hungry. He responded to her, and they wrote each other back and forth.

After film school in the 1990s in Toronto, Liz worked in television, which led her to work for War Child Canada to direct her first social justice documentary “Musicians in the War Zone.” I know how impacted my daughter was by witnessing war, which subsequently influenced her to create many socially conscious film and television projects, including a trilogy of documentaries on the AIDS pandemic for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

In the late 2000s, full-length independent films came next. In Liz’s body of work are two award-winning environmental documentary films which explore the way our capitalist society deals with the human right to water (Water on the Table, 2010), and the use of animals within the food, entertainment, research, and fashion industries (The Ghosts in our Machine, 2013). And later, the advent of new technologies as a potential solution is featured in a ground-breaking film (Meat the Future, 2021).

When the Pandemic hit, Liz spent time with me and her family members here on the Sunshine Coast, which re-ignited her love of the land, and inspired her to relocate from Toronto in 2020. Her signature curiosity took root as she sought to learn more about the issues of Indigenous justice and the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. As her aunt and uncle have been deeply engaged in the syiyaya Reconciliation Movement with settler allies and members of the shíshálh Nation, Liz took inspiration from this grassroots movement to learn from and to be in relationship with the Indigenous community. Her current film is a collaboration with Indigenous creatives to witness the important stories of their Elders from three Indigenous Nations here in B.C., including the shíshálh Nation. (s-yewyaw: Awaken, 2023 ).

Liz is a loving auntie to several children and a dog mom to Freeda, a rescue from Mexico. Her wide community of friends and family, love of the land and sea, new interests about a variety of issues keep my daughter busy and as curious as ever. As her mother, I will be fascinated to see what comes next!

-Written by Diane Marshall, mother

Liz Marshall
Liz with Freeda
Liz Marshall
At Gibsons Market with a group of friends
BTS of Liz filming on the Sunshine Coast
Out walking the dog
Liz filming on the Sunshine Coast
Liz with film team
Liz Marshall
Morning coffee in Gibsons
Liz Marshall
Taking a selfie with Freeda!

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Which ‘hood are you in?

I live in Gibsons, the unceded homeland of the sḵwx̱wú7mesh People. This sacred place is a dreamy ferry ride from the Vancouver mainland. Moving here three years ago from Toronto – population in the millions to a town of 5000 – was a huge adjustment. I did so knowing that I can live and work from a remote yet totally accessible location.

What do you do?

I’m a filmmaker. Whether I’m writing, directing, producing, or framing the world from behind my lens, the work tethers me to life through immersive storytelling with teams and communities – exploring ideas, witnessing grassroots movements, honouring the natural world.

What are you currently working on?

s-yéwyáw / AWAKEN. We are currently enjoying the initial phase of our release in Canada. This character-driven documentary connects the transformative stories of three Indigenous multimedia changemakers and their four Elders. I hope it will serve as a model for other Indigenous and non-Indigenous teams working together, toward personal and systemic change

Where can we find your work?

Check out my website to watch my work through the years.

To learn more about s-yéwyáw / AWAKEN visit our website to find or to host a screening, watch our trailer, download our impact film guide.

 

About Emilea Semancik 97 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: