Southern Circuit - David E. Simpson

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David E. Simpson has crafted award-winning films for 25 years. As a producer, director and editor he plies his trade in the belief that a well-told story can move viewers’ hearts and minds regarding crucial, human issues. David co-produced and directed When Billy Broke His Head, a documentary about disability culture that won the Sundance Film Festival’s Freedom of Expression Award, along with major prizes at dozens of other festivals. He recently co-produced and edited Forgiving Dr. Mengele, about an Auschwitz survivor’s controversial campaign of forgiveness, which won the 2006 Slamdance Grand Jury Prize for documentaries. David directed Refrigerator Mothers, about a generation of mothers who raised autistic children under the shadow of professionally-promoted mother-blame. The film won top honors at the Florida, Indiana, and Sedona film festivals and aired on the PBS series P.O.V. David also produced and directed Halsted Street, USA, a multi-award-winning snapshot of America through the prism of one multicultural street. His experimental narrative, Dante's Dream, a re-working of Dante’s cosmology, earned five 1st place festival awards. Simpson will be on the Southern Circuit Tour with his film Milking the Rhino, an acclaimed documentary which tells a nuanced tale of human-wildlife coexistence in post-colonial Africa. The Maasai tribe of Kenya and Namibia's Himba—two of Earth's oldest cattle cultures—are in the midst of upheaval. Emerging from a century of "white man conservation," which turned their lands into game reserves and fueled resentment towards wildlife, Himba and Maasai communities are now vying for a piece of the wildlife-tourism pie. Community-based conservation, which tries to balance the needs of wildlife and people, has been touted by environmentalists as "win-win." The reality, however, is more complex. And when drought decimates the grass shared by livestock and wildlife, the community's commitment to conservation is sorely tested.

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