| 6 min

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This film recreates the true story of Tom Sukanen, an eccentric Finnish immigrant who homesteaded in Saskatchewan in the 1920s and 1930s. Sukanen spent ten years building and moving overland a huge iron ship that was to carry him back to his native Finland. The ship never reached water.

What would drive a man to spend 10 years of his life building a ship in the middle of the prairie 17 miles (27 km) from the nearest body of water? In the case of Tom Sukanen, it might have something to do with returning to his native Finland to be reunited with the wife and baby he left behind. Shipbuilder explores the fine line between genius and madness as well as the great loneliness that afflict immigrants regardless of where they are.

Albert Ohayon
From the playlist: Canada’s Diverse Cultures

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Shipbuilder, Stephen Surjik, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • director
    Stephen Surjik
  • producer
    Charles Konowal
  • cinematography
    Charles Konowal
  • executive producer
    Michael Scott
  • script
    Ken Mitchell
  • editing
    Norm Sawchyn
  • sound editing
    Carol Wenaus
  • re-recording
    Jean-Pierre Joutel
  • narrator
    Kristjana Gunnars
  • music
    Marcelle Nokony
    Greg Zuck
  • cast
    Sasha Konowal
    Galen Wahlmeier

  • Boz57

    Tragic story, he must have been very lonely.

    Boz57, 27 Mar 2020
  • farmer77


    farmer77, 5 Mar 2016
  • Pixelpump

    This is one of the saddest things I've ever seen :(

    Pixelpump, 25 Aug 2010

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