About the filmmaker

Heather Kirkpatrick

Heather Kirkpatrick is the Director, Producer, Writer, Camera and Soundperson for her film Against Our Oath. Heather is a qualified journalist who completed a major unit in documentary filmmaking as part of her Graduate Diploma in Journalism and Media studied at the University of Tasmania in 2004.

Heather directed and produced her first feature documentary, Mary Meets Mohammad, which was released in 2013. Heather received many media awards for this film including being a 2013 Walkey Award finalist and the winner of a 2014 United Nations Media Peace Prize.

Heather spent four years making her second documentary, Against Our Oath, as a solo filmmaker. This involved researching, writing, directing and producing as well as operating both camera and sound recording. Heather has travelled around the world twice to obtain interviews and follow events in the midst of millions of refugees on the move globally. She was just able to move 40kg of equipment herself whilst in production. Countries filmed in include Australia, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Heather was not able to film on Nauru or Manus Island as journalists are rarely permitted visitation. Instead she has accessed footage and stills taken on smuggled phones and cameras from these locations. This provides audiences with a rare glimpse into Australia’s offshore system where asylum seekers who arrive by boat are sent.

Heather Kirkpatrick. Credit: Adrienne Andrew
Heather Kirkpatrick. Credit: Adrienne Andrew

Awards

Awards and recognitions for Heather’s first feature documentary, Mary Meets Mohammad, include:

  • Walkley Award Finalist 2013 – Documentary – for excellence in journalism
  • Winner United Nations Media Peace Prize – Special Award for Promotion of Multicultural Issues 2014
  • Winner 2014 Migration Institute of Australia – Outstanding Coverage of Migration in the Media
  • F4 Outstanding Documentary Talent Award finalist – Australian International Documentary Conference 2013
  • Tasmanian Media Awards Winner – Best Feature, Documentary or Current Affairs 2014
  • Winner Australia Day Council Award 2013 for Promotion of Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding
  • Finalist Australian Migration Council Media Award 2014 – Television
  • Nomination Best Documentary Director – Australian Directors Guild 2014
  • Winner Tasmanian Community Awards – Heather & Christopher Chong Outstanding Achiever Award 2013

Before filmmaking Heather spent many years working as a professional outdoor instructor leading expeditions on every continent. This saw her climbing high mountains, raft guiding and leading three month long leadership courses in the world’s most remote wilderness regions. Heather spent seven seasons teaching field survival skills in Antarctica for the Australian Antarctic Division. She has also worked as an emergency logistician, coordinating helicopter logistics as food was delivered to flood victims, in Pakistan in 2010. Heather’s worldwide travels inspired her to study postgraduate journalism in 2004 after earlier degrees in Science and Outdoor Education.

2013 Walkley Awards. Credit: Kristy Dowsing
2013 Walkley Awards. Credit: Kristy Dowsing
2013 Walkley Awards. Credit: Kristy Dowsing
2013 Walkley Awards. Credit: Kristy Dowsing