22 May 2016 | 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. | Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto
Exploring the themes of “Home” through Asian Canadian films, programmed by Gave Lindo, Executive Director, ReelWorld Film Festival
Presented by Asian Heritage Month—Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc. and Social Services Network in partnership with ReelWorld Film Festival.
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Artists’ panel with Karen Shaw, Jeanette Kong, Gauri Guha, and Dr. Keith Lowe
Screening of short films
The Chiney Shop
This documentary explores the complex relationship and social interaction between the Chinese shopkeepers and their Jamaican customers. Although the Chinese were an insular group, The Chiney Shop explores the myriad ways, in which this ethnic minority contributed to Jamaican society. Drawing from interviews by members of the Jamaican-Chinese community and prominent Jamaicans from the diaspora and using archival footage and photos, the film attempts to illustrate the deeply-rooted connection between Chinese shopkeepers and Jamaicans not usually portrayed in mainstream media.
Half: The Story of a Chinese-Jamaican Son
“HALF is a moving story of diaspora, trauma, survival and, ultimately, love. The documentary gently unfolds the narrative of Vincent Lee, a man born in Jamaica but raised in China, and four generations of a his transnational Chinese-Jamaican-North American family. Lee and his family prepare food, laugh and share memories—all the while, Lee speaks in a blend of Hakka and Jamaican Creole. Lee’s language is perhaps the most powerful symbol of his migrant itinerary as a Chinese-Jamaican for whom both countries, yet neither country, meant ‘home’. The film triumphs as a unique contribution to knowledge of Chinese Caribbean history. At the same time the compelling conversations with Lee and his family capture poignant, shared, inter-generational truths about 20th century Caribbean transnational lives. It is a film that will resonate at a profound level with anyone, but perhaps especially with Caribbean and diasporic people of any background or nationality.”
—Description written by Melanie J. Newton Director of Caribbean Studies at New College & Associate Professor of History, University of Toronto
Screening of closing film, Khoya
Presented by the film’s producer, Karen Shaw
Rog Moreau lives anonymously and aimlessly in a small town in Ontario. When his adopted mother unexpectedly dies, Rog loses his last tie to his Canadian upbringing and identity. Realizing he is dangerously spiraling, Rog decides to travel thousands of miles away to India to find the birth family that gave him up for adoption nearly thirty years earlier. His arrival is jarring, however, when he steps off the plane into the crowded sweaty streets of Mumbai and is confronted by his own foreignness in a strange, new land.
While eager to be reunited with his family, complications immediately threaten Rog’s search; a Catholic orphanage reveals his documents are forgeries. More desperate than ever, Rog sets out on a quest heading into Madhya Pradesh—the impoverished, rural heartland of India—to find the one local official who can help him solve the mystery surrounding his adoption. Rog’s journey takes him into the dark alleys, dusty roads and cramped train cars of India’s underclass as he tries to connect the threads of his own story. Ultimately he is pushed to his physical and emotional breaking point, forced to confront the ghosts that have been haunting him his entire life. Only then is he able to discover the truth.
Asian Heritage Month–Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc., Social Services Network in partnership with ReelWorld Film Festival
Co-Organizers: Asian Heritage Month—Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture (Central Ontario) Inc.; ReelWorld Film Festival; Richard Charles Lee Canada Hong Kong Library, University of Toronto; Social Services Network; Bata Shoe Museum
Asian Heritage Month Festival is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council