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You don't have to look to Hollywood for powerful films that inspire and provoke. This is standard fare from David E. Simpson, Chicago's documentary dynamo.

Chicago filmmaker David E. Simpson has been making films since he was 13, when he received a camera as a present. After experimenting with different kinds of storytelling, documentary filmmaking captivated him.

Whether directing movies about disability rights in "When Billy Broke His Head" or working behind the scenes as an editor for "Forgiving Dr. Mengele," Simpson isn't shy about broaching difficult topics. Working with Kartemquin Films – the famed Chicago company that produced 1994's acclaimed " Hoop Dreams" – Simpson made "Refrigerator Mothers," a movie that looks at the period between the 1950s and 1970s when the medical community thought autism was the result of poor parenting.

In his movie, Simpson visits with some of the women who not only had to deal with the difficulties of raising autistic children but also suffered the stigma of being labeled as emotionally cold "refrigerator mothers."

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Find out more about Simpson's documentary "Refrigerator Mothers" at PBS's documentary showcase, P.O.V.

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Learn more about prolific Chicago filmmaker, David E. Simpson.


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Billy Golfus, the subject of Simpson's "When Billy Broke His head," a documentary that recounts Golfus' experiences dealing with brain damage after a motorcycle accident.

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In Simpson's recent work, Milking the Rhino, he looks at African communities that are at the vanguard of community-based conservation.


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