Topic: It Starts with Life!
Ann McElhinney is a filmmaker and investigative journalist. She has produced documentaries for the BBC, CBC (Canada) and RTE (Ireland). Ann has worked as a filmmaker and journalist in many countries including Indonesia, Romania, Vietnam, Cambodia, Uganda, Madagascar and Uzbekistan.
The documentary, The Search for Tristan’s Mum (RTE, 2005), saw Ann go undercover and secretly film a corrupt baby trafficking ring in Indonesia. She exposed the case of Tristan Dowse, a baby who was adopted by an Irish man and his wife in Indonesia. Two years later, when the adoptive mother became pregnant, they abandoned Tristan in an Indonesian orphanage. The case outraged Ireland, and McElhinney tracked down Tristan’s natural mother and, posing as a prospective adopter, infiltrated the baby-selling ring. As a result of the documentary, Tristan is now living with his natural mother in Indonesia, and the baby sellers are serving lengthy jail sentences.
The Irish government initiated a high court protection order to protect Tristan’s interests and when delivering his judgment, Justice John McMenamin said McElhinney deserved the “highest of praise” for her investigative journalism.
McElhinney was featured in and was the Associate Producer of the highly controversial documentary Return to Sender (2005) for CBC and Romanian Twins for the BBC (2004).
In 2009, she produced and directed Not Evil Just Wrong, a film which examined and critiqued current concerns about global warming. The film highlights the tragic consequences of the first triumph of the environmental movement, the ban on DDT, which has resulted needlessly in the deaths of more than 40 million children and adults in the developing world.
Previously, McElhinney produced and directed Mine Your Own Business (2006) – the first documentary that asks difficult questions of the environmental movement. As a result, 80 NGOs, including Greenpeace, called for the film to be banned when it was screened in the National Geographic auditorium in Washington D.C. Protestors compared Mine Your Own Business to “Nazi propaganda” and “pornography.” However, Canada’s The National Post said “Mine Your Own Business is devastating because it combats prejudices and fantasies with pictures that refute thousands of weasel words. Images spun from afar. It deserves to be seen by anybody who wants to understand the impact on poor people of radical environmentalism.”
McElhinney has appeared on or is a regular contributor to an array of international media organizations including ABC, BBC, CBC (Canada), ABC (Australia), RTE (Ireland) and Fox News. She has written for a series of newspapers including The UK Sunday Times and the Irish Times. She is a regular on a number of U.S. talk radio shows, including Hugh Hewitt, the Dennis Miller and Randi Rhodes show.
She has spoken most recently at conferences in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Toronto, Phoenix, San Diego, St. Louis, Santa Barbara and Salt Lake City. McElhinney produces and directs documentaries with her husband Phelim McAleer.