The Perfect Story

The Perfect Story


Content Warning: This film contains difficult imagery, violence. Language or subject matter may be offensive or triggering to some viewers.

Veteran journalist, filmmaker, and foreign correspondant Michelle Sheppard, turns the camera back on herself, her work and her relationships with the people in the stories she tells as she returns to a story she broke while serving as a national security correspondent for the Toronto Star.

In the film, Sheppard documents the decade-long relationship between herself and Ismael Abdulle, a young Somali refugee who had survived a brutal, life altering attack by the terrorist group al-Shabab. As the pair return to Mogadishu, an unexpected turn of events and revalations force Michelle to defy one of journalism’s golden rules—“report the story, don’t become part of it”—and makes her question her role as a storyteller.

“Don’t become part of the story,” Michelle Shephard reminds herself in The Perfect Story. It’s a golden rule of journalism, but not necessarily of documentary. Shephard straddles her complementary roles as journalist and filmmaker as she traces her unlikely journey with Ismael Abdulle. Pat Mullen, Oct 4 2022, POV Magazine

Awards and Nominations

Winner – Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF), 2022 –
Jury Award for Best Canadian Documentary, Official Selection
Nominee – Directors Guild of Canada, 2022 – DGC Craft Award for Best Picture Editing


Michelle Shephard


English (with subtitles in English)

Film Details

2022, 73 min