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.
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 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.
Filmmaker Karen Cho travels from Montreal to Vancouver to uncover stories from the last survivors of the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, a set of laws imposed to single out the Chinese as unwanted immigrants to Canada from 1885 to 1947. Through a combination of history, poetry and raw emotion, this documentary sheds light on an era that shaped the identity of generations.
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 documentary tells the story of a Chinese cemetery in BC that became a National Heritage site. For Chinese pioneers who died in Canada, Victoria's Chinese Cemetery at Harling Point was a temporary resting place until their bones could be returned home. (Traditional Chinese belief says that the soul of a person who dies in a foreign place wanders lost until their bones are returned home.) This film traces the rich history of the Vancouver Island cemetery from controversy and neglect to its revival as a historic site. Told by those closest to it, the story of Harling Point is a metaphor for Canada, a country still working on making a home for all who live within its borders.
These vignettes from 1954 cover various aspects of life in Canada and were shown in theatres across the country. Subjects included here are: Ball Stars Start Young: In Vancouver's Little League, baseball players, diamond and equipment are junior size, but not the boys' coaches or the eagerness of teams and fans. An Auto a Minute: This is just about the rate of output seen in one of Ontario's automobile assembly plants. A Railroad Goes to Sea: Swapping steel rails for ocean waves is routine for British Columbia's Pacific Great Eastern Railway, travelling the forty-mile leg between Vancouver and Squamish by railway barge.
This feature documentary follows one of the greatest Canadian baseball players of all time, Ferguson Jenkins, through the 1972-1973 season. From the hope and innocence of spring training to the dog days of an August slump, the camera gets up close and personal at the home plate and records the intimate chatter on the mound, in the dugout and in the locker room. It provides a glimpse into the rewards and pressures of sports stardom and the easy camaraderie of the quintessential summer sport.
This short documentary from the On the Spot series - “National Film Board’s up-to-the-minute report of what’s happening somewhere in Canada” – invites us to visit the Edmonton Eskimos football team on their home ground. Host Fred Davis introduce us to some of the team’s key players and interviews its 28-year-old coach, Darrell Royal, a firm believer in the use of moving pictures in the coaching of modern football.
This feature-length documentary looks at German POWs from the WWII who were housed in 25 camps across Canada. Filmmaker Eva Colmers follows her father's story - Theo Melzer - who spent three and a half years in a POW camp in Lethbridge, Alberta. Growing up in Germany, she had always been puzzled by her father's fond memories of his POW life, so when she moved to Canada, she set out to rediscover this story. What she found surprised her. Watch as Theo Melzer, along with other POWs, recount how their lives were changed by the unexpected respect and dignity they received at the hands of their Canadian captors.