David Ridgen
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David Ridgen

David Ridgen
Years active1989-present[1]
Ridgen Film Corporation[2]

David Ridgen is an award-winning independent Canadian filmmaker born in Stratford, Ontario.[3] He has worked for CBC Television, MSNBC, NPR, TVOntario and others. He is currently the writer, producer and host of CBC Radio's true-crime podcast series, Someone Knows Something.[4]

Early work (1990-2000)

Ridgen assisted his brother Robert to make Canadian Images of Vietnam[5] in 1990. The compilation, produced and researched by Robert, was acquired by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in 1991. From February to April 2013, Canadian Images of Vietnam was featured in the National Gallery of Canada installation, "Clash: Conflict and its Consequences".[6]

Later work (2000-present)

Ridgen's first feature drama, Memento,[7] was released to critical acclaim in 1996 on a riverboat in Kingston, Ontario.[8][9]

In 2000, Ridgen's critically acclaimed documentary about Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, On the Borders of Gardens,[10] earned him a prestigious Canadian Association of Journalists Award.[11]

A 2003 film, Buried Alive,[12] made for CBC Television, was about a group of people seeking spiritual enlightenment by digging their own graves and being buried in them overnight. This film won a Bronze Plaque Award at the Columbus International Film and Video Festival.

Ridgen made Return to Mississippi[13] in 2004 for CBC Television, about the potential for a trial in the case of the three Mississippi Burning victims: civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman. During the production of Return to Mississippi, Ridgen learned of the 1964 Klan murder of two 19-year-old African-American men, Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore. This led him to produce his next and probably most famous film, Mississippi Cold Case,[14] a documentary so compelling it led Mississippi state officials to re-open their investigation into the case, which resulted in Klansman James Ford Seale being convicted of conspiracy and kidnapping and handed three concurrent life sentences.[15][16][17][18][19] Ridgen and Mississippi Cold Case won many awards, including the IRE Top Medal for Investigative Reporting,[20] a Gemini for Best Director,[21] a CAJ for Best Investigative Program,[22] several Yorkton Golden Sheafs including Best of Festival,[23] a CINE Golden Eagle[24] and an Emmy Nomination for Best Investigative Documentary.[25]

Ridgen's 2009 documentary, American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein, co-directed and co-produced with Nicolas Rossier, was about the life of controversial political scientist Norman Finkelstein. American Radical was released in 2009, premiering at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and winning the Audience Choice Award.[26] The film went on to screen at dozens of festivals and venues worldwide, earning another Audience Award at the Cinema Politica/RIDM Festival.[27]American Radical had its world television premiere on Israeli Television, Yes, and also aired on Al Jazeera and RT.[28]

Work with Civil Rights Cold Case Project

In 2008, Ridgen, along with John Fleming of the Anniston Star, spearheaded The Civil Rights Cold Case Project[29][30] with Paperny Films and the Center for Investigative Reporting. The Project brought together partners from across the media and legal spectrum to reveal long-neglected truths behind scores of race-motivated murders from the civil rights era, and to help facilitate reconciliation and healing. The Project sponsored work in other Civil Rights era cold cases, including the 1964 Klan murders of two African Americans: shoe-shop owner Frank Morris, murdered in Ferriday, Louisiana, and Clifton Walker, a Natchez, Mississippi mill worker.

In 2011, Ridgen worked with Civil Rights Cold Case Project members Stanley Nelson and David Paperny to produce Murder at the Shoe Shop, a radio documentary for NPR[31] and CBC Television,[32] about the Frank Morris case. The documentary aired the same day Stanley Nelson published an article [33] in the Concordia Sentinel newspaper revealing for the first time the identity of Arthur Leonard Spencer, a man alleged to have participated in Morris' murder. Weeks later, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated a Grand Jury proceeding into the Morris case.[34]

Investigative films

Ridgen has made four investigative films about alleged cold cases for the CBC. The first, A Garden of Tears (2009),[35][36][37] was about the 1975 murder of Kathryn Mary Herbert in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The second, The Bomb that Killed Wayne Greavette (2009),[38][39] about the killing of Greavette through the use of a flashlight bomb sent in the mail,[40] was nominated for two 2010 Gemini Awards.[41] The third, Sharin (2010),[42][43][44] was about the brutal 1983 murder of nine-year-old Sharin' Morningstar Keenan and the search for the prime suspect Dennis Melvyn Howe.[45] Ridgen's fourth film in his Canadian Cold Case series, Confession to Murder Part I (2012),[46][47][48] was about the 1993 disappearance of 15-year-old Christine Harron and a man named Anthony Edward Ringel who allegedly confessed 11 years later to killing her. The documentary revealed that Ringel was discharged before trial due to police errors and rulings on evidence admissibility.[49]Confession to Murder Part I aired on May 18, 2012, the 19th anniversary of Christine's disappearance. It was nominated for a 2013 Canadian Screen Award [50] and on the evening of the awards, February 27, 2013, Anthony Edward Ringel was re-arrested by the Ontario Provincial Police and charged with the first degree murder of Christine Harron; police saying they had obtained fresh evidence. A Confession to Murder Part II[51] aired on CBC Television March 8, 2013, with information about Anthony Ringel's re-arrest.[52][53][54]

Someone Knows Something

In 2016, Ridgen launched Someone Knows Something, CBC Radio's first true-crime podcast.[55] The show investigates small-town cold cases, and reports on them in near real time.[56]

The first season focuses on the 1972 disappearance of Adrien McNaughton, a five-year-old boy who vanished during a family fishing trip in Eastern Ontario. The McNaughton family is from Arnprior, Ontario. Ridgen grew up in Arnprior, moving there with his family shortly after Adrien's disappearance.[57]

Season 2 focuses on the 1998 disappearance of Sheryl Sheppard, a 29-year-old woman who vanished on New Years Day in Hamilton, Ontario. Her mother Odette Fisher has spent almost 19 years searching for her missing daughter.[58]

In Season 3 David revisits his documentary Mississippi Cold Case. - In 1964, the remains of Charles Moore and Henry Dee were found in the Mississippi River. But no one was convicted. 40 years later, Charles's brother Thomas returns to Mississippi with David Ridgen to reopen the case and confront the Klan. (6 Episodes Only)

In Season 4, David revisits his case of Wayne Greavette's death by a bomb mailed to him as a flashlight.[59]

Season 5 premiered in October 2018, it focuses on the 1986 rape and murder of Kerrie Ann Brown in Thompson, Manitoba.[60]

Season 6 premiered in May 2020, Donald Izzett Jr. disappeared on Mother's Day 1995. [61]


  1. ^ "Portfolio". ridgenfilm. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ "David Ridgen - LinkedIn". ca.linkedin.com. Retrieved 2016.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Brown, Dave (July 7, 2013). "Award-Winning Filmmaker David Ridgen Gets Ready to Shoot in the Ottawa Valley". Ottawa Citizen.
  4. ^ "CBC's Someone Knows Something taps into Serial podcast success". NOW Toronto Magazine - Think Free. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "Canadian Images of Vietnam". Davidridgen.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ "Clash:Conflict and its Consequences". gallery.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ "Memento". Davidridgen.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ "Memento Whig Standard Review". Davidridgen.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  9. ^ "Memento Kingston This Week". Davidridgen.com. June 19, 1996. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  10. ^ "On the Borders of Gardens". Davidridgen.com. March 3, 2000. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  11. ^ "Best in Canadian investigative journalism honoured - CTV News". Ctv.ca. May 27, 2001. Retrieved 2011.
  12. ^ "Buried Alive". Davidridgen.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  13. ^ "Return to Mississippi". Davidridgen.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  14. ^ "Mississippi Cold Case". Davidridgen.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  15. ^ Associated, The (September 25, 2005). "Reported as Dead, Suspect in '64 Killings Turns Up Alive - New York Times". The New York Times. Mississippi. Retrieved 2011.
  16. ^ "Brother Wins Arrest in '64 Case". The Washington Post. January 26, 2007. Retrieved 2011.
  17. ^ Dewan, Shaila (February 3, 2007). "Push to Resolve Fading Killings of Rights Era - New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011.
  18. ^ Frances Gibb Legal Editor (October 7, 2011). "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". The Times. UK. Retrieved 2011.
  19. ^ "Cracking a very cold case". Toronto Star. January 26, 2007. Retrieved 2011.
  20. ^ "Investigative Reporters and Editors | 2007 IRE Awards Winners". Ire.org. Retrieved 2013.
  21. ^ "Canada's Awards Database". Academy.ca. March 28, 2011. Archived from the original on March 7, 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  22. ^ "CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF JOURNALISTS | CAJ Award winners announced". Newswire.ca. May 25, 2008. Retrieved 2011.
  23. ^ "Winners". Goldensheafawards.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  24. ^ [1] Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "The Emmy Awards - - 28th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards". Emmyonline.org. Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved 2011.
  26. ^ "Independent Feature Project | Midwest Filmmakers » The 16th Chicago Underground Film Festival Award Winners!". IFP Chicago. November 2, 2008. Archived from the original on August 8, 2010. Retrieved 2012.
  27. ^ "American Radical wins CP Audience Choice Award". cinema politica. Retrieved 2011.
  28. ^ "American Radical: the trials of Norman Finkelstein". Americanradicalthefilm.com. Retrieved 2011.
  29. ^ coldcases.org
  30. ^ "Hank Klibanoff - The glacial pace of Justice". The Washington Post. August 8, 2010. Retrieved 2011.
  31. ^ "Solving A 1964 Cold Case: Mystery Of Frank Morris". NPR, All Things Considered. January 13, 2011. Retrieved 2013.
  32. ^ "Murder at the shoe shop". CBC Radio, The Current. January 12, 2011. Retrieved 2013.
  33. ^ "Rayville man implicated in Frank Morris case". Concordia Sentinel. January 12, 2011. Retrieved 2013.
  34. ^ "Grand Jury probing Frank Morris murder". Concordia Sentinel. February 9, 2011. Retrieved 2013.
  35. ^ "A garden of tears". CBC Television. Vimeo. October 30, 2009. Retrieved 2013.
  36. ^ "A garden of tears, CBC Radio". cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  37. ^ "A garden of tears". cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  38. ^ "The bomb that killed Wayne Greavette". CBC Television. Vimeo. December 12, 2009. Retrieved 2013.
  39. ^ "The bomb that killed Wayne Greavette, CBC Radio". cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  40. ^ "The bomb that killed Wayne Greavette". cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  41. ^ "Gemini awards database". academy.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  42. ^ "Sharin'". CBC Television. Vimeo. March 14, 2010. Retrieved 2013.
  43. ^ "Sharin'". cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  44. ^ "Sharin' CBC Radio". cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  45. ^ "Sharin'". cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  46. ^ "Confession to murder part I". CBC Television. Vimeo. May 18, 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  47. ^ "Confession to murder CBC online story". cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  48. ^ "Confession to murder radio doc". cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  49. ^ "Confession to murder part I". CBC Television. Vimeo. March 8, 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  50. ^ "2013 Canadian Screen Awards nominations" (PDF). academy.ca. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  51. ^ "Confession to murder part II". CBC Television. Vimeo. March 8, 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  52. ^ "Confession to murder update Southwestern Ontario News report". southwesternontario.ca. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  53. ^ "Confession to murder part II CBC online". cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013.
  54. ^ "Confession to murder part II Toronto Sun". torontosun.com. Retrieved 2013.
  55. ^ "Someone Knows Something: New podcast explores real cold cases | Metro News". metronews.ca. Retrieved 2016.
  56. ^ "Home | Someone Knows Something | CBC Radio". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2016.
  57. ^ Yeo, Debra (March 2, 2016). "Someone Knows Something to focus on cold cases, beginning with the disappearance of Adrien McNaughton in 1972". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2016.
  58. ^ CBC Radio, Listen to SKS Season 2 on CBC Radio One this summer. Accessed December 1, 2018.
  59. ^ "Season 4: Greavette". CBC. Retrieved 2018.
  60. ^ Hoye, Bryce (October 16, 2018). "Mysterious killing of Manitoba teen Kerrie Ann Brown explored in CBC podcast". CBC News. Retrieved 2018.
  61. ^ "Season 6: Donald Izzett Jr". CBC. Retrieved 2020.

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