Ural Mountains  

Sundogs and ghosts in rural Saskatchewan… Was that a poltergeist?

In minus 52F, we ventured back to Netherhill, Saskatchewan last month to resume shooting for “The Traitor’s Daughter”, to capture the haunting landscape that sets the stage for so much of this feature length documentary, stretching from Saskatchewan to the very edge of Siberia. I…

She was no June Cleaver, but she was the mother of all mothers. This week, The Traitor’s Daughter hits the airwaves…

Let’s face it. How many mothers do you know who can throw a perfect pattern of kitchen knives into the wall? Who won and lost a couple thousand bucks (and a fur coat) in a single night of poker? Captured by Hitler. Branded a traitor…

“They are the last of the real ‘Great Dames’….”

On set at Global TV’s program “16X9″, we are two prairie girls celebrating the stories of a trio of women you don’t normally get to see on prime time TV. Their faces are etched with wrinkles, each line telling a tale of extraordinary cunning, endurance,…

The Missing Thousand Days: THE CLUES

On March 27, 1940, in defiance of her mother’s wishes, Rosa Butorina (my mother’s real name) married a swarthy, Rudolph Valentino-esque man 20 years her senior. This is the last known photograph of her before she was captured by the Nazis in Poltava. The Nazi…

“You don’t believe in Death!”

“You don’t believe in Death! ” my mother said in a moment of piquancy during our customary game of thrust and parry whenever it came to trying to unearth her war-time secrets. The sheer force of her personality. The power of that voice. And her…

It was the time of whispers.

It was the time of whispers. The 1930’s. The rest of the world was focused on a stock market crash, the Depression, and a young Bing Crosby who was taking the US musical scene by storm with his dreamy, “Pennies from Heaven”. But in the…

“Be tender with her history!”

“Be tender with her history,” the phrase rings in my ears on our final days of an extraordinary  film shoot penetrating the Russian heart of the Ural Mountains, a part of the world cut off from the west for most of the last century.  Over…

In the search for clues, how Donald Duck trumped Twitter!

The search for my mother’s “missing thousand days” during World War Two began this summer again, in earnest in a breezy, light-filled second floor apartment in Amsterdam, overlooking the Singel canal. I have come to this cosmopolitan European city with my twin brother, Victor Spicer…

Love In The Time Of Chaos And Rubble

“They are immortalized at the moment of their greatest joy, their eyes brimming with optimism.” My mother, Agnes Spicer, is part of an extraordinary art exhibit of 22 remarkable Canadian war-brides ‘going home’ to Holland. In August, 1946, on board the RMS Mauretania, she traveled…