About me Documentaries Videography Videos News Reel Blog
 

Video Highlight: A Message from Leaders of the Xingu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Todd Southgate
Australia, working with Gryphon Productions and Biggest and Baddest. 2013 Photo - Andy Ditrick

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by. Let me tell you a little about myself.

I am a Canadian environmental documentary director and videographer. I have a master's degree in environmental studies from York University in Toronto, Canada, and I studied creative cinematography at Humber College Institute of Technology, and Television Broadcasting at Mohawk College of Applied Arts. Editor, camera operator, journalist, producer and director, I have worn many hats professionally for television stations and networks such as CityTV in Toronto and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Todd Southgate
Uganda, 2014. On the lookout for tree lions, shooting for Biggest and Baddest. Photo: Andy Dittrich

Over the decades I have directed, filmed and written over 50 environmental documentaries, television specials and videos about themes such as over-fishing, illegal logging, climate change, nuclear energy and more. A number of these productions have won prestigious environmental film awards.
From 1998 to 2000 I was based in Amsterdam working with Greenpeace International's communications department as Senior Creative Features Producer coordinating the video production work of 30 Greenpeace offices around the world.

I then gave up my desk in Europe and traded continents to be more closely involved in investigative fieldwork. For the past 15 years I have been based in Brazil and have focused most of my work on one of the world's most intriguing and important biomes – the Amazon.

Working in the Amazon I have used my passion for video and storytelling to help international and Brazilian groups such as Greenpeace, Action Aid, Amazon Watch, Xingu Vivo Para Sempre and Conservation International, as well as indigenous communities like the Xavantes, Kayapo, Yanomami, Enawenê-nawê and the Deni.

Todd Southgate
A citizenship honour from the City of Florianopolis for the documentary "A Questao Animal"

Images I have produced from the Amazon have been broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NBC, CBS, the CBC, O Globo and various other channels and networks around the world. The productions and documentaries I have produced from the Amazon have also been widely received internationally.


The 2005 documentary Soy: in the Name of Progre$$ was translated into several languages and distributed throughout Europe. The documentary tells the story of soybean farming expansion in the Amazon and how it is affecting forests and communities that rely on them. It won the viewer's choice award as Best Environmental Documentary at MIDCAM 2006: the Environmental Film Festival in Natal, Brazil.


Paramount Pictures distributed a documentary I wrote and directed in 2007, Mudanças do clima, mudanças de vidas (Changes in climate, changes in lives), throughout Brazil for home DVD together with the Brazilian release of the Oscar Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The documentary later won the iBEST Award for best on-line video in Brazil, and Brazil' s Ministry of Education included a DVD copy of the video in over 500,000 school textbooks about ecology.

Todd Southgate
Florianopolis, Brazil FAM Awards. Photo: Dora Hoff
In 2010, my extensive work in the rainforest attracted the attention of the group Amazon Watch. They invited me to be part of a special team led by AVATAR creator James Cameron to document the Oscar award-winning director's work opposing the Belo Monte hydroelectric project in the Amazon.

 

 

Todd Southgate

Sailing with Brazil's famous vilfredo Schurman on the sea-hunt for a lost WWII german U-boat off the coast of Brazil.
Spoiler alert: we found it.

My images from that campaign appear in a James Cameron documentary called A Message from Pandora that won the Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award. I filmed again with Cameron in 2011 when he revisited the Amazon, this time with former California governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger; and again with the Avatar Alliance in 2014.

I continued to highlight the issues with the Belo Monte dam and I went on to direct a multiple award-winning documentary for the international NGO Birdlife called Damocracy, which debunks much of the "green and clean" propaganda used to promote new dams in the Amazon and throughout the world.

Todd Southgate
Filming with James Cameron's Avatar Alliance, Arnold Swartzennegar and the legendary Raoni, my friend.

Some other highlights: I was the Director of Photography for the Schurmann Film Company's feature-length documentary Lone Wolf that follows the search for a German submarine that sunk off Brazil's southern coast during WW II. I also teamed up again with the Schurmanns for their 2013 film The Disappeared.


I just finished as the director of photography for season two of the Discovery / Animal Planet series Biggest & Baddest for Gryphon productions.


The Dirty Little War over Chico's Bar, which I co-wrote, filmed, directed and edited is a powerful feature-length documentary about development and community activism in Brazil's south. It is currently in the festival circuit and won best documentary (from the popular jury) at FAM, an international festival in Florianopolis.

Todd Southgate
Talking about the film Damocracy, at the festival of the
Unseen in Bilbao, Spain. 2014. Photo Sarah Creta
Todd Southgate
Amazon, 2001. Heading out to cover the Indigenous group the Deni self-demarcating their lands. Photo Daniel Beltra
 
Todd Southgate
Damocracy wins an award in Bilbao, Spain.
Photo Sarah Creta
chico

Todd Southgate

Belo Monte: After the Flood (2016) 52 min

Director: Todd Southgate
Camera: Todd Southgate
Editor: Todd Southgate
Writers: Todd Southgate & Brent Millikan

The film explores the history and consequences of one of the world's most controversial dam projects, built on the Xingu River in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.

Now that the Xingu River is dammed and Belo Monte has begun to generate its first watts of electricity, controversy surrounding this project has only grown as allegations and charges of corruption and kickbacks involving dozens of prominent politicians continue to emerge.


Todd Southgate

Sorry for the Inconvenience: The Dirty Little War over Chico's Bar (2015) 79 min

Director: Todd Southgate
Camera: Todd Southgate
Editor: Todd Southgate
Writer: Todd Southgate & Jeff Hoff

Is a feature length documentary that tells the tragic story of a charming old fisherman whose small rustic beach side bar became ground zero in a community's battle against powerful condominium developers and political interests.

The film also chronicles the history of urban development on the Brazilian island of Florianopolis; and how the island's growing fame ushered in an era of unsustainable development that is jeopardizing much of the tropical island's beauty, as well as generating many conflicts with traditional communities.


Todd Southgate

Damocracy (2013) 35 min

Director: Todd Southgate
Producer: Doga (Birdlife)
Camera: Todd Southgate
Editor: Todd Southgate
Writer: Todd Southgate, Caroline Muscat, Tolga Temuge

A documentary that debunks the myth of large-scale dams as clean energy and a solution to climate change. It records the priceless cultural and natural heritage the world would lose in the Amazon and Mesopotamia if two planned large-scale dams are built, Belo Monte dam in Brazil, and Ilisu dam in Turkey. DAMOCRACY is a story of resistance by the thousands of people who will be displaced, and a call to world to support their struggle.


Todd Southgate

A Questão Animal
(Let's talk Animals)
(2012) 60 min

Director: Todd Southgate
Producer: Todd Southgate & Maria Graca Dutra
Camera: Todd Southgate
Editor: Todd Southgate
Writer: Todd Southgate

Is a one hour Brazilian documentary that explores at great length the relationship that we have with dogs and cats, and the endemic problem of strays in the streets of Brazil, as well as the health concerns which develop. The programme also discusses animal cruelty and the fight to educate more people about laws protecting animals on this continental sized nation. Looking for solutions, the video highlights one city, Florianopolis, that has developed an innovative programme to reduce the number of strays, educate the population and reduce zoonotic diseases in a humane and thoughtful way.


Todd Southgate

30 Years Supporting Inidigenous Peoples (2010) 32 min

Director: Todd Southgate
Producer: Norwegian Embassy
Camera: Todd Southgate
Editor: Todd Southgate
Writer: Todd Southgate, Kristen Bengston

A short film produced for the Norwegian Embassy's celebrated Indigenous Progmme in Brazil to mark its 30th anniversary. The video chronicals the decades' long struggle of Indigenous peoples in Brazil to secure rights to their lands, more autonomy and greater respect from the government.

The film also looks at the role the Nowegian Embassy has played over 30 years in aiding Indigenous groups and indigenous peoples in Brazil.




Todd Southgate
This is a promotional poster from a campaign at CityTV from 1996, featuring none other than a younger yours-truly.


I first started shooting professionally in 1989 with CityPulse news in Toronto, Canada. You simply cannot beat the experience gained by work in daily television news. Nothing hones your image and sound gathering skills faster than confronting and analyzing several different visual scenarios and circumstances each day.

While I do write and direct my own productions, as well as produce videos for others, I am still passionate about shooting and I am lucky to be able to bring this passion to work with a number of groups, channels and organizations around the world. From James Cameron's Avatar Alliance Foundation, to Greenpeace, to productions for the United Nations, I have focused my lens on critical issues on different continents.

I am also very lucky to use my videography skills for the stellar Canadian television company Gryphon Productions, and a number of their shows and documentaries, including a documentary for PBS (Lost in the Amazon) and an award-winning television series that has appeared on Discovery, Animal Planet and now on Nat Geo Wild, called Biggest and Baddest.


cast
 
Director
release