Bill has also worked on many Canadian feature films and TV movies with many of Canada’s most talented directors including Vincenzo Natali, Bruce McDonald, Eric Till, William Phillips, George Bloomfield and Gordon Pinsent.
Bill’s experience in drama as a 1st AD working with some of the world’s top directors has resulted in a combination of talents, both visual and dramatic, that makes him a strong documentary director.
In 2006 Bill Spahic directed Yours, Al, an evocative film about the life and work of the “people’s poet of Canada”, Al Purdy which featured actor Gordon Pinsent in the title role. Bill has also directed several award winning educational drama shorts: A Poisoned Workplace: Sexual Harassment and Breaking the Cycle a short drama aimed at the prevention of child abuse.
“Right from the start we wanted to make a feature documentary from Iris Chang’s perspective. In making the film we discovered how it was even more of a personal and emotional experience for her. As Iris herself said in one archive clip, Nanking was not just statistics and historical dates but something that effects people even today.
Everyone helped us wherever we turned, but the most helpful was Iris herself. She was our guiding light. There are many parallels between her writing her book and our making the film. Many times I felt that Iris was looking after us. The most obvious example of this is the 4 VHS tapes (her filming survivors). She left a copy of the tapes behind in Nanjing with Prof Yang in ’95 who gave us the tapes in December 2006 when we first filmed there.
The original tapes no longer exist. Those copies ‘she left behind for us’ proved a gold mine visually but more importantly it gave us a real first hand understanding of what Iris heard from the survivors. It was as if she were saying here, this is what I heard…it was easy to imagine how she felt.”