The bombing of the American naval base at Pearl Harbor thrust 9-year-old Minoru Fukushima into a world of racism so malevolent he would be forced to leave Canada, the land of his birth. Like thousands of other Japanese Canadians, Minoru and his family were branded as an enemy of Canada, dispatched to internment camps in British Columbia and finally deported to Japan. Directed by Michael Fukushima, Minoru's son, the film combines classical animation with archival material. The memories of the father are interspersed with the voice of the son, weaving a tale of a birthright lost and recovered.
This documentary tells the personal story of filmmaker Jari Osborne's father, a Chinese-Canadian veteran. She describes her father's involvement in World War II and uncovers a legacy of discrimination and racism against British Columbia's Chinese-Canadian community. Sworn to secrecy for decades, Osborne's father and his war buddies now vividly recall their top-secret missions behind enemy lines in Southeast Asia. Theirs is a tale of young men proudly fighting for a country that had mistreated them. This film does more than reveal an important period in Canadian history. It pays moving tribute to a father's quiet heroism.
This feature-length documentary tells the story of the Asahi baseball team. In pre-World War II Vancouver, the team was unbeatable, winning the Pacific Northwest Championship for five straight years. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, all persons of Japanese descent in Canada were sent to internment camps. The former Asahi members survived by playing ball. Their passion was contagious and soon other players joined in, among them RCMP officials and local townspeople. As a result, the games helped break down racial and cultural barriers. This remarkable story is told with a combination of archival footage, interviews and dramatic re-enactments.
Renee Thompson is trying to make it as a top fashion model in New York. She's got the looks, the walk and the drive. But she’s a black model in a world where white women represent the standard of beauty. Agencies rarely hire black models. And when they do, they want them to look “like white girls dipped in chocolate.”
The Colour of Beauty is a shocking short documentary that examines racism in the fashion industry. Is a black model less attractive to designers, casting directors and consumers? What is the colour of beauty?
This film is part of the Work For All series, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, with the participation of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
This documentary celebrates the vibrant culture and tenacious struggle of the Canadian Gypsy and introduces a new generation of Roma who claim their roots with pride. They call themselves by their rightful name, the Roma. Almost 80,000 call Canada home. Meet Julia Lovell, a passionate defender of Roma human rights, whose father is slowly gaining the confidence to reveal his heritage; and Karen Gray Boothroyd, a flamenco dancer just beginning to reclaim her Gypsy roots.
The NFB's 2nd Oscar®-nominated film.
This short film examines the Japan that emerged at the beginning of the 1900s and was firmly established as an industrialized nation by the outbreak of World War II. Facing the greatest threat in their history, the democracies of the Pacific took careful stock of this new Japan and its strength, and erected a vast system of defence across the world's greatest ocean.
This documentary gives us a glimpse inside the influential but little-known community of Vancouver’s Hong Kong Chinese. Prejudices fall by the wayside as we discover the community's way of life and the vital role it plays in the Canadian and world economy through a moving, intimate portrait of the Lam family, who arrived here in 1991.
Julia Kwan’s feature-length documentary Everything Will Be captures a significant moment of time in Vancouver’s Chinatown, with the influx of condos and new, non-Chinese businesses. The film follows a year in the life of several Chinatown denizens, including a 90-year-old Chinese newspaper street vendor and a second-generation tea shop owner, as they navigate this community in flux.
This short animation tells the story of a young boy and his father, both of whom are enlisted to fight in the war. The boy's pride soon turns to fear as the bullets whistle overhead. His father takes his place and is immediately shot and killed. Horrified, the boy understands that war is not a game. Based on article 38 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, this film illustrates the right of children under the age of 15 not to be recruited into the armed forces.
This documentary introduces us to Italian-Canadians whose lives were disrupted and uprooted by seclusion in internment camps during the Second World War. On June 10, 1940, Italy entered WWII. Overnight, the Canadian government came to see the country's 112,000 Italian-Canadians as a threat to its national security. The RCMP rounded up thousands of people it considered fascist sympathizers. Seven hundred of them were held for up to three years in internment camps, most of them at Petawawa, Ontario. None were ever charged with a criminal offence. Remarkably, the former internees are not bitter as they look back on the way their own country treated them.
Ages 12 to 17
Diversity - Identity
History - World War II
History and Citizenship Education - Culture and Currents of Thought (1500-present)
Media Education - Film Animation
This is a film about identity - both its fragility and its immutability. What does it mean to be a Canadian? Or Japanese? How can someone's identity be taken away? Minoru fought to be Canadian. Have students discuss what that might mean to them. Can students look to their own families to find stories of a struggle for identity? Why is it so important for us to choose our own fates and our own identities?