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

I am Canadian environmental documentary director and videographer. I have a Master's degree in Environmental Studies from York University in Toronto, Canada, but I also studied creative cinematography at Humber College Institute of Technology, and Television Broadcasting at Mohawk College of applied Arts. I have worked professionally in television as an editor, cameraman, journalist, producer and director 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

I have directed, filmed and written over 50 environmental documentaries, television specials and videos with a variety of themes such as over-fishing, illegal logging, climate change, nuclear energy and more. A number of these productions have won environmental film awards including the Grand Prize at the EcoFilm Awards in Europe in 2000.

Through 1998-2000 I was based in Amsterdam working with Greenpeace International's communications department as senior creative TV producer/director coordinating the video features work of 30 Greenpeace offices around the world and later gave up my desk and traded continents to be more closely involved in investigative fieldwork and have since been based in Brazil. For the last 15 years I have concentrated the majority of my television skills working in one of the world's most intriguing biomes – the Amazon.

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

In the Amazon I have worked with international and national NGOs (Greenpeace, Action Aid, Amazon Watch, Xingu Vivo Para Sempre, Conservation International) as well as with indigenous communities like the Xavantes, Kayapo, Yanomami, Enawenê-nawê and the Deni.

My images from the Amazon have been seen on the BBC, CNN, NBC, CBS, the CBC, O Globo and various other channels and networks around the world. My productions and documentaries from the Amazon have also been widely received internationally.

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

My 2007 documentary Mudanças do clima, mudanças de vidas (Changes in climate, changes in lives) was distributed by Paramount Pictures in Brazil for home DVD release with the Oscar Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. It subsequently went on to win the iBEST Award for best on-line video in Brazil.

Todd Southgate
West Papua, 2009. Photo: Daniel Beltra
My extensive work in the rainforest attracted the attention of the group Amazon Watch in 2010 and I was called 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 now appear in a James Cameron documentary called A Message from Pandora which won Berlin's International Film for Peace Award. I filmed again with Cameron in 2011 when he revisited the Amazon, this time with ex-governor and Hollywood Actor Arnold Swartzenegger, and again with Avatar Alliance in 2014.

I contineed my work highlighting the issues with the Belo Monte dam and directed a multipal award-winning documentary for the international NGO Birdlife, called Damocracy, that debunked much of the "green energy" rhetoric that is being used to promote new dams in the Amazon around the world.

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

I was also the Director of Photography for the Schurmann Film Company feature-length documentary Lone Wolf which follows the search for a WWII submarine sunk off Brazil's southern coast. Also with the Schurmanns, I was DOP for their filme Os Desaparecidos, which was Brazil's first terror film shot in the style of the Blair Witch Project.

I just finished as the director of Photography for season two of Discovery / Animal planet series called " Biggest & Baddest" for Gryphon productions. Apart from that, I am working on two feature-length documentaries.

The Dirty Little War over Chico's Bar which I wrote, filmed, directed and edited is a powerful feature-length documentary about development and corruption in Brazil's south. It is current in teh festival circut and won best documentary (viewers choice) at FAM, and international Latin American Festival in Florianopolis.

Todd Southgate
Talking about the film Damocracy, at the festival of the
Unseen in Biblao, 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

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 Hof

Is a feature length documentary that tells the tragic story of a charming old fisherman whose small rustic beachside 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 Questao Animal (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, and 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.


2015 – Best documentary FAM (Juri popular). Festival Mecosul, Brazil

2014 – Best documentary in the category of sustainability. Festival Invisible, Bilbao Spain.

2012 – Best documentary in the category of Anthropology / Ecology. Award Cine Eco film festival, Portugal

2008 – Best on-line Documentary. iBEST Award. Brazil. “Mudanças do clima, mudanças de vidas. Como aquecimento global já afeta o Brasil”. 52 minutes.
Credits: Director, Writer, Editor, Videographer

2006 – Best documentary - Viewers Choice. Midcam Natal Environmental Film Festival “Soy: In the name of progress”. 40 minutes.
Credits: Director, Writer, Editor, Videographer & Narrator (English version)

2000 – Grande Prize: Best Documentary. Envirofilm Festival, Europe. “Arctic Meltdown, Rising Seas: threatened lands, threatened peoples”. 30 minutes.
Credits: Director, Writer & Videographer.

2000 – Winner: Main Category in Environmental Education. Envirofilm Festival, Europe. “Mediterranean Blues”. 15 minutes.
Credits: Director, Writer & Videographer.

2000 – Winner: Main Category in Global Problems: Envirofilm Festival, Europe. “Saving Paradise”. 15 minutes.
Credits: Director & Writer.

1996 – Awarded: Outstanding Commitment to Animals. Citizen’s Award. Toronto Humane Society of Canada:

1995 – CanPro Gold, Best News Special. Canadian Excellence in Broadcasting. “Eco Wars on the Grand Banks”. 30 minutes.
Credits: Director, Writer & Videographer

1995 – CanPro Silver, Best News Special. Canadian Excellence in Broadcasting. “Storm over Algoma”. 30 minutes.
Credits: Director, Writer, Videographer & Editor

1994 – CanPro Gold, Best TV News Series. Canadian Excellence in Broadcasting. “Animal Cruelty: Cowards Among us”. 5 x 4 minutes.
Credits: Director, Writer, Videographer & Reporter


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 can not beat the experience that shooting TV news awards. Forced to think through and deal with several different visual scenarios and circumstances each and every day, nothing hones your skills faster.

Although I do write and direct my own productions, as well as videos for others, I’m still passionate about shooting and have been 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 working on productions for the United Nations, I’ve been able to focus my lens on a number of important issues, and in a number of different nations.

I have also been very lucky to use my videography skills for Gryphon productions and a number of stellar shows and documentaries they have produced over the years 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.