Dear Audrey

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Dear Audrey
Directed byJeremiah Hayes
Written byJeremiah Hayes, Co-Writer Daniel Diaz
Produced byAndré Barro
Annette Clarke
Jeremiah Hayes
StarringMartin Duckworth
Audrey Schirmer
Jacqueline Schirmer, Marya Duckworth, Sylvia Duckworth, Danielle Schirmer, Nick Schirmer
CinematographyJeremiah Hayes
Edited byJeremiah Hayes
Music byWalker Grimshaw
Distributed byNational Film Board of Canada, and Cineflix Media
Release date
  • November 19, 2021 (2021-11-19) (RIDM)
Running time
89 minutes

Dear Audrey is a 2021 documentary film directed by Jeremiah Hayes.[1] The film centres on activist and filmmaker Martin Duckworth, as he cares for his wife Audrey Schirmer through the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease.[2]


One of Canada's most prolific documentary filmmakers, Martin Duckworth is also known as a devoted peace activist. But when his wife Audrey Schirmer was diagnosed with Alzhiemer's in 2013, he stopped making films in order to care for her full time.

Dear Audrey revisits those moments using excerpts from Martin’s films and Audrey’s photography. As Audrey's condition degrades, Martin's involvement and love grow stronger. Their daughter Jacqueline, a person with autism spectrum disorder, also struggles with her mother’s illness, but Martin is devoted to making his wife and daughter's lives meaningful.  

Production and release[edit]

Dear Audrey is a co-production between Cineflix Media, the National Film Board of Canada, and SwingDog Films.

Filming began in 2016 and continued over the next four years with Hayes shooting once or twice a month at Martin's home. During this time, there was no source of outside funding. After four years of shooting, Hayes edited half of the film in order to make a short promo video to use to raise interest with producers in order to finish the film. In winter 2020, Cineflix Media and the National Film Board of Canada became the film's co-producers.

Dear Audrey combines footage shot in Martin and Audrey's Montreal apartment, Audrey's black and white photography, clips from some of Martin Duckworth's thirty documentaries, period archives, and black and white animation. The music was composed by Walker Grimshaw.

The film debuted on November 19, 2021 at the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM),[3] and toured film festivals throughout Canada and internationally.


Critical response[edit]

Charlie Smith of The Georgia Straight said, “Martin Duckworth spent decades telling other people's truths. But the former NFB director is actually in front of the camera for some of his most compelling and candid moments in cinema... Anyone who watches Dear Audrey will undoubtedly conclude that Hayes is a masterful filmmaker”.[1]

Dorothy Woodend of The Tyee gave a positive review saying, “The central force of Dear Audrey is the eternal, almost implacable force of love that binds people together through the most difficult times. It is this energy, emanating out in a thousand small ways, that lies at  the heart of the film. Mysterious and ordinary, invisible yet  undeniable.”[4]

Silvia Galipeau of La Presse also reviewed the film positively : “It's impossible to watch 90 minutes of this documentary, without being overwhelmed by its sweetness and generosity. Through this very beautiful film, about this so beautiful love”.[2]

Janet Smith of Stir Vancouver said, "Hayes’s patience pays off in many small, but profound moments over the course of the film... Hayes has crafted a film that shifts the thinking around Alzheimer’s: that it is not a sentence of darkness and hopelessness. That there can be tenderness and dignity within the journey".[5]



  1. ^ a b Charlie Smith (May 13, 2022). "DOXA Fest: Dear Audrey delivers a love story for the ages". The Georgia Straight.
  2. ^ a b Silvia Galipeau (August 19, 2022). "Chère Audrey | Témoignage d'une douceur inouïe (8/10)". La Presse (in French).
  3. ^ T'Cha Dunlevy, "RIDM festival's new director excited about 'filmmaker-first documentaries'". Montreal Gazette, November 9, 2021.
  4. ^ Woodend, Dorothy (August 12, 2022). "A Long Time Love". The Tyee.
  5. ^ Janet Smith (August 16, 2022). "Patience pays off, as Dear Audrey director finds poignant humanity amid one couple's Alzheimer's journey". Stir.
  6. ^ "RIDM announces the 2021 People's Choice Award: DEAR AUDREY by Jeremiah Hayes". RIDM. Retrieved 2024-02-23.
  7. ^ "The Independent Critic - "Dear Audrey" An Exquisite Gem". Retrieved 2024-02-23.
  8. ^ a b "Dear Audrey". 2022-10-18. Retrieved 2024-02-23.
  9. ^ "Awards". Phoenix Film Festival. Retrieved 2024-02-23.
  10. ^ "Madrid IFF 2022 Winners – Film Fest International". Retrieved 2024-02-23.
  11. ^ "Documentaries Without Borders International Film festival". Retrieved 2024-02-23.
  12. ^ Festival, Rising Sun International Film. "Rising Sun International Film Festival". Rising Sun International Film Festival. Retrieved 2024-02-23.
  13. ^ Babiera, Angelica. "Riceboy Sleeps leads nominations for 2023 VFCC Awards". Retrieved 2024-02-23.
  14. ^ Pat Mullen, "2023 Canadian Screen Award Nominations for Documentary". Point of View, February 22, 2023.
  15. ^ Maxime Demers, "Le film «Viking», de Stéphane Lafleur, grand gagnant du 25e Gala Québec Cinéma". Le Journal de Montréal, December 10, 2023.
  16. ^ "Dear Audrey". Le site officiel du Gala du cinéma québécois (in French). Retrieved 2024-02-23.
  17. ^ "Dear Audrey". Le site officiel du Gala du cinéma québécois (in French). Retrieved 2024-03-14.

External links[edit]