A nine-minute preview of a film detailing the events around Emma Fillipoff’s 2012 disappearance is set to be released.
The search for Fillipoff heads into 10 years on Nov. 28, the same day the film trailer and an age progression photo is set to be released.
The film, Barefoot in the Night: The Search for Emma Fillipoff and the accompanying podcast, are updates to a well-known and highly publicized story.
Production of the film was delayed by COVID-19 restrictions, but in releasing the trailer, director and producer Kimberly Bordage hopes to renew interest and remind the public of the facts of the case.
“We actually don’t have a set release date,” Bordage said. “We are continuing with production as we search for Emma – the two are happening at the same time. This preview of the upcoming docuseries is only a snippet of a much larger story.”
Fillipoff had been displaying odd and out-of-character behaviour in the weeks leading to her disappearance, and after learning that she had been staying in a women’s shelter, her mother flew to Victoria from Ontario.
However, when Shelley Fillipoff arrived the evening of Nov. 28, 2012, staff at the Sandy Merriman women’s shelter said Fillipoff had not claimed her bed that evening.
She was deemed a missing person shortly after.
There have been few credible leads since 2018, when a man named William, who did not provide a last name, came forward and said he’d seen Fillipoff on the morning of Nov. 29, 2012. He said she was acting scared and paranoid and that she was wet and carrying her shoes in her hand.
He said he gave her a ride from Esquimalt Road to an intersection at Craigflower Road and Admirals Road, closer to Colwood, where she said she would stay with a friend.
This tip led to a cadaver dog search, which turned up empty and left the case cold. The goal of creating this film is to change that.
“I’m very much hoping that this brings forth some new information,” Fillipoff said. “Ten years is a long time and while there have been tips, there’s been nothing concrete and nothing that has led us to finding my daughter.”
The film will offer a behind-the-scenes look into the grassroots effort to find Fillipoff, led by her mother and assisted by friends and swaths of the public.
Bordage said the idea for this film came shortly after William came forward with his information, in the hopes that it would spark more conversation and information that can lead to finding Fillipoff.
While the film will provide in-depth interviews with people who were involved with the initial investigation, from friends to the Victoria Police, Bordage said it is really a story about a mother’s journey to find her daughter, and the community of people that rallied around her.
“This is Shelley’s story,” Bordage said. “It is very much Shelley’s story searching for Emma, which I’ve been helping her with since 2015. The public is a big part of what helps her continue. Of course, it’s her hope of finding her daughter, but the energy of other people looking, hoping, sending in tips. Even if they’re not sure, sending in information, just in case – it is really great, that public involvement.”
Even with no release date nailed down, Fillipoff and Bordage hope the lengthy trailer will be enough to jog some memories of that night in November a decade ago.
“It is the hope that this will reach people who have not been aware of Emma’s case,” Fillipoff said. “I think it’ll be far-reaching. It is my hope that it’ll bring renewed interest and more awareness to Emma’s disappearance.”
There have been many iterations of Fillipoff’s story, but this film and podcast really focus on the behind-the-scenes efforts on behalf of her mother and others to bring her home.
The new podcast, The Search for Emma Fillipoff - 10 Years, with Kimberly Bordage and Shelley Fillipoff, is a companion piece to one Fillipoff made in 2018, which laid out a timeline of the weeks leading to her disappearance and an interview with William.
Fillipoff would be 36 and police are set to release an age-progression image, but her mother is not confident it will help.
In the new podcast, Fillipoff said her daughter can be a “chameleon” who can look different depending on her hair or mood.
While she is uneasy about seeing what the artist thinks her daughter would look like today, Fillipoff remains hopeful that the age-progression photo will also spur further information.
“It is a scary thing to see a rendering of Emma at an older age but I think it will also garner a great deal of attention,” Fillipoff said. “It’ll refocus people on the case and I’m a firm believer that somebody has information. I mean, she didn’t just vanish into thin air. There is information out there and somebody has it. I’m just hoping this encourages somebody to come forward. It’s been a long 10 years.”
Anyone with information regarding Fillipoff’s disappearance can contact VicPD at 250-995-7654, ext. 1, or report anonymously to Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Tips can also be made at helpfindemmafillipoff.com.