For local director Jamie Moffett, a chance conversation with a former professor sparked an obsessive, 18-month journey into a tiny country’s fight with a big corporation.

 

“Return to El Salvador” delves into a complex, layered tragedy: the mysterious death of human rights activist Marcelo Rivera, El Salvador’s fight for sovereignty, the nearly two million Salvadoran refugees in the U.S., and the questionable practices of Canadian mining company Pacific Rim.

 

“Eighteen months ago, I probably couldn’t have found El Salvador on a map,” says Moffett from his Kensington studio, just before leaving for a screening at Canadian Parliament.

 

But this director is no stranger to flying by the seat of his pants — or complexity. The 34-year-old self-described agnostic co-founded The Simple Way — the activist Kensington Christian community — in 1998. He chronicled fellow Simple Way activists in his 2008 film, “Ordinary Radicals.”


Moffett has since left The Way, and his personal activism is somewhat more worldly than simple. Though he doesn’t seem to make decisions based on profit, Jamie Moffett Media Design and Production is definitely a for-profit company.


“My intention has always been to be a sheep in wolf’s clothing,” he says. “We’re trying to sell compelling narratives and market them in a way that we can give money to the organizations we’re inspired by.”


If you’re looking for evidence of Moffett’s ability to work the system, you might recognize the narrator of this little documentary: Martin Sheen.