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Heather Dirckze

Filmmaker for Development and Social Change

As a child I would make silly films with my friends to the latest High School Musical song or funny skits we had written ourselves. We still do those things, but at some point I decided making films was something I enjoyed doing professionally, as well as for fun. 

I have a passion for telling stories and sharing lives, whether it is my own life through my video blogs, or the stories of others through my films. I believe everyone deserves to be able to tell their story the way they want, which is why I work very closely with my film participants to ensure their own story is being told, rather than one someone else has decided for them. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me for more information on what I do.

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Notable Work

Who You Were Yesterday (2018)
Follow the preparations of five students living in a refugee camp who have earned sponsorships to study in Canadian universities and colleges.

Grandmother (2017) 
Grandmother tells the story of migration in the UK through the personal stories of three grandmothers.
Voted Best Student Film at the Women Over 50 Film Festival.

Who We Are (2018)
Follow my mom, Sandra. on her journey back to her hometown of Preston as she rediscovers memories in a film that plays with time and space.

Education

 

Honours BA in International Development and African Studies

York University (2016)

MA Media Practice for Development and Social Change

University of Sussex (2018)

Certificate in Graphic Design

George Brown College (2020)

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Experience
The Learning Enrichment Foundation - Digital Communications Manager (July 2021 - present)
  • Responsible for the planning, leading, creation, dissemination, and analysis of engaging digital content across LEF's social platforms, website, and email.
  • This role is required to:
    • Develop and project manage the implementation of digital communications plans.
    • Think creatively to find innovative ways to engage online audiences.
    • Plan, generate, and publish high-quality, engaging content across all social media platforms.
    • Oversee department team members, providing appropriate support, development opportunities, recognition, challenge, and motivation for team.
Houselink - Marketing and Communications Coordinator for The Dream Team (October 2019 - July 2021)
  • I am currently creating a digital marketing strategy for The Dream Team. Duties include creating content and monitoring social media and expanding the reach of The Dream Team's presentations.
 
Photos Unlimited - Photographer and Sales Associate (Feb 2017 - Aug 2017)
  • I facilitated photoshoots for newborns, children, couples, families, and more. The job involved taking photographs, setting up poses, creatively using background and props, editing photos, and selling packages to customers.
York University WUSC Local Committee - Chairperson (Feb 2013 - Jun 2016)
  • I oversaw all events and projects of the York University Local Committee of World University Service of Canada. This included:
    • chairing meetings
    • leading training sessions for new and current members
    • planning events on campus to raise awareness of refugee issues
    • creating an annual budget for the sponsored students
    • general recruitment and communication strategy
    • contacting and speaking to media
    • acting as the chief spokesperson and primary signing officer for WUSC York.
  • During my final year as WUSC York Chair, I worked closely with university administration and spearheaded the initiative that saw student refugee sponsorship at York increase from one student per year to five.
York International Global Ambassador (Sep 2015 - Aug 2015)
  • I encourage students to take part in international experiences through York University by giving presentations, leading seminars, and creating promotional videos and articles. 
YMCA Day Camp Counselor (Summers, 2012-2015)
  • Planned day-to-day activities with children, mostly aged 8-12. Programming included activities relevant for Creative Arts, Dance and Drama (CADD), Claymation, Filmmaking, and Variety camps. 
Software
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe After Effects
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Audition
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Powerpoint
Microsoft Excel
iMovie
Final Cut Pro
Audacity
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Awards and Acknowledgements
Esiri Dafieshare Award
Received for achieving the highest GPA in the African Studies program at York
Loretto Sisters Award
Selected amongst my high school graduating class as the student exemplifying social justice
Member of Golden Key International Honours Society
Leadershape Participant
Go Global Gallery Artist (video presented)
ONE Leadership Summit Participant
Volunteer Work
Conversation Circle Facilitator for Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services (Sep 2016 - March 2020)
  • Volunteer position assisting immigrants to Canada with their conversational English. Skills used include teaching of new or foreign terms, effective communication to a multicultural group, and creating a personable and welcoming environment.
Uniterra International Seminar Participant (Jul 2016 - Aug 2016)
  • One of eight Canadian student leaders selected to conduct research in Arusha, Tanzania with eight Tanzanian youth. The final report explores how agricultural systems support economic development and global food security, and the role youth, women, and technology play. I prepared the video report which can be viewed on the videos page. 
SHAWCO After-School Teacher (Feb 2015 - Jun 2015)
  • Placed in an after-school program in Manenberg, a township in Cape Town, South Africa. I followed lesson plans, assisted children with English and Math work, and generally provided a positive influence for vulnerable children in the community.
World Youth Day Volunteer in Brazil (Jul 2013)
  • Worked in a metro station in Rio de Janeiro assisting English-speaking pilgrims with directions and information regarding World Youth Day Events. This position was short but required a lot of flexibility, adaptability, and cross-cultural communication. 
A Bit About Me

Hover for more details.

Passionate

I have many passions in life - soccer, filmmaking, music, etc. When I find myself pursuing something that I am passionate about, I am focused and excited. I will put my all into a project and put my heart into my work.

Organized

Particularly when it comes to projects that I am working on independently, I need to have my work very organized. This helps me to feel less stressed and ensures I complete everything that is involved with the project. I will create lists, charts, logs - whatever it takes to have it all nicely organized!

Creative

As a child I would always find new and creative ways to complete assignments, something that I have carried through to today. In my spare time I like to write songs and paint (admittedly not well) and enjoy making vlogs and fun videos with my friends.

Team Player

I work well in a team as shown through my time as WUSC committee chair as well as during the Uniterra International Seminar, during which I worked with 7 other Canadians and 8 Tanzanians to complete research and collectively write a report.

Empathetic

Particularly working with media, I am constantly thinking about the ethics of my work, and how the other person might feel to be put in this situation. I believe to be a good filmmaker you have to be able to empathize with your subjects to tell a true story. I carry this empathetic mindset into my everyday life.

Proactive

I often finish my work before the deadline to ensure it is the best quality it can be, and often start preliminary research before being told. When creating my final masters film, I started working a whole semester ahead of my classmates and when it came time to making the film I was ahead and a lot less stressed.

Excellent

Communicator

Whether through email or in person, I am never afraid to say how I'm feeling in a situation. During my time as WUSC Chair, I was required to keep in communication with multiple members of the committee regarding different issues or tasks.

Strong Leader

I have attended many leadership retreats such as Leadershape, ONE Leadership Summit, Uniterra Leadership meeting and Salesian Leadership Retreat. I have also held roles which required strong leadership such as youth group leader, camp counselor, and WUSC committee chair.

Intercultural Competency

I have lived, volunteered, and worked in 6 countries and visited 18 more. I also have experience working with people from diverse backgrounds through WUSC, YMCA, and the Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services.

Dedicated

When I got involved with WUSC, I gave it all of my attention outside of my schoolwork and when I decided to make my film The Chosen Ones, I worked hard and spent hours researching until I made it happen. When I want something done I dedicate myself to making sure it happens.

Personable

During my job at the photo studio, I interacted with customers and provided them with exceptional customer service. I also interacted with parents during my job as a camp counselor where my friendly attitude made them feel reassured and comfortable.

Independent Worker

When working on my films and projects, I work best when I am in the zone and focused on my work. I work well on my own when given directions and like to complete tasks independently, such as the editing of my film:  The Chosen Ones.

For more information or to chat with me about an opportunity, please Contact Me.
Check out my work on my Video and Photography pages!
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