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Capturing the World Through a Lens

April 28, 2014

Capturing the World Through a Lens

As an award-winning filmmaker who has captured life in some of the most conflicted regions of the world, Ron Sim has seen destruction and human suffering on a wide scale. But his visits to Haiti after the earthquake that killed over 300,000 people in 2010 left an indelible mark on the 2002 Media Arts graduate.

“To see that kind of devastation caused by Mother Nature and not by a war or human intervention changed my outlook on life. It touches you in a very different way, particularly because there is no one to blame for the outcome,” said Ron, who initially captured images in Haiti for CNN and returned several times to shoot on behalf of humanitarian organizations.

“Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for being allowed to do what I do,” said Ron, who has filmed in 55 countries, ranging from conflict zones in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to remote locations in Samoa and Malaysia. His work includes documentaries, travel and current affairs programs and corporate productions for clients such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic, BBC, and Associated Press, as well as Dow.

More than half of Ron’s travels have been part of his role as Producer and Chief Cinematographer with Dow in Michigan. Since 2006, he has been spearheading global film projects supporting corporate branding and executive communication campaigns for the company. During this time, Ron has received an unprecedented five consecutive awards for Best Corporate Cinematography from the Canadian Society of Cinematographers, most recently in 2014.

Such consistent, high-level industry recognition for Ron’s work is rooted in the bond he shares with the world’s most and vulnerable and dispossessed. A native of Cambodia, Ron immigrated to Canada in 1985 at the age of five with his family, settling in Windsor, Ontario. Those early years inspired him to become a filmmaker, says Ron, who was born in a refugee camp along the Thailand and Cambodia border during the Khmer Rouge genocides in the 1970s.

“Every morning, I’d awake to the image of a man behind a camera. They were filming the movie The Killing Fields (about the massacres under Pol Pot) outside my tent. At the age of three, I knew I wanted to be that man behind the camera,” explained Ron, who grew up in Windsor, Ontario. “My background definitely contributes to the passion I put behind my work; the kind of stories I tell and the way I tell them.”

In 2002, Ron found himself back in Cambodia as the man behind the camera producing his final year film project, I am Khmer. Written and directed with fellow Sheridan graduate Steven Bray, the award-winning film follows Ron’s return to the homeland he and his family were forced to flee.

Today, Ron still maintains ties with many of his Sheridan connections. “You come out of Sheridan with more than a degree – you’ve got contacts, friendships and the technical expertise that will get you where you want to go.”