Monica Virtue is a producer specializing in the development of documentaries and real-life stories. Her services include historical and investigative research, creative story development, field producing, interviews, camera operation and editing, sourcing stock footage and photos from archives, and social media.
Monica has 10 years independent production experience under her belt, with seven of those spent conducting original research under the guidance of a social justice law firm. She has done research at Collections Canada, the Archives of Ontario, local archives and museums, courthouses and land registries. She is particularly adept at finding underlying stories in unexpected places.
In 2005, Monica was hired by Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors (lawyers for the Estate of First Nations protester Anthony “Dudley” George) to produce an educational documentary known as The Ipperwash Park Film Project. The project was initially scheduled to last six months, and was to plug gaps in knowledge growing out of the ongoing Ipperwash Inquiry. The project came to incorporate multiple storylines, including First Nations land surrenders at Ipperwash, Kettle Point, Caledonia, and a number of substantial surrenders in Sarnia’s Chemical Valley. Monica also conducted a thorough investigation into hundreds of Inquiry audio exhibits, tracked down experts in First Nations history, and sourced stock footage and still photos from archives across North America. The project lasted seven years.
Monica was able to unearth so many unseen documents involving the land transactions at Ipperwash that it provoked Justice Sidney Linden to remark during Inquiry testimony that,
It is astonishing that after all these years, and all this investigation, and all this work that all of us have done that documents are still surfacing at this late date.”
This research was put on public record during the testimony of former Ontario Minister of Natural Resources Chris Hodgson, as well as former Ontario Premier Mike Harris.
Since 2003, Monica has been collecting content for her own independent feature documentary on the personal journey of Sam George, who sought justice after his brother Dudley George was killed by police. In addition, she has created several short films, including one for Amnesty International Canada (Freedom Drum, 2007) and several independent shorts about the recent Idle No More movement.
Prior to attending film school, Monica was a writer, photographer and graphic designer at Oxford Media Group, a local communication and marketing company in Woodstock, Ontario, where she focused on branding, web site design and client newsletters such as the Woodstock General Hospital Newsletter.
Although Monica can be analytical, and is able to break complex assignments into smaller parts, she is equally creative. She is able to direct actors in dramatic sequences, operate camera, and edit video footage using Final Cut Pro HD. She created all of the wardrobe, sets and props herself for almost 20 different historical recreations for The Ipperwash Park Film Project. She interacts well with people from different cultural and economic backgrounds, and can navigate interpersonal conflicts in order to follow a story.
Formerly a volunteer reporter and camera operator with Rogers Television, Monica now contributes her time to writing profiles and newsletters for alumni of Sheridan College’s Advanced Television & Film program. She speaks to classes each year at York University and Lakehead University about Ipperwash and First Nations issues. For a taste of Hollywood, she recently completed an internship with Hyde Park Entertainment in their international sales office at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. She is currently volunteering as a foster parent to dogs rescued through the Aboriginal Community Advocacy Connection.
Monica earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies (with a minor in Fine Art) from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Certificate in Business from Fanshawe College, and a Post-Diploma in Advanced Television & Film from Sheridan College.