It was nearly a full house at the Mae Wilson Theatre Wednesday night for the premiere of A Passage Beyond Fortune, a 16-minute National Film Board of Canada (NFB) documentary about former Moose Javians Gale and Myrna Chow, who immigrated to Canada in the 1950's.
The film follows the couple in recent years as they prepare to move to Regina to live with their son Kyle Chow. The documentary also dispels some of the myths about the history of the Chinese community in Moose Jaw. The Chows share the way anti-Chinese immigration policies fractured their family’s settlement in Moose Jaw.
Gale was thrilled to see the support from the community.
"I was surprised how many people came to see the documentary film. I was very happy about it," he said.
Director Weiye Su was also surprised by the turnout.
"I'm happy that people came out, enjoyed tonight, watched the film, heard the family's stories. I think it's important. It's great."
Su talked about the impact the Chow family had on Moose Jaw.
"Gale is the former leader of the community. He has done so much for the community. It's my honour to have him being invited to his home and do a documentary with him. There was huge support from the community."
Kyle Chow said the film did a good job of showing how the Chinese community stuck together to try and keep their heritage, but at the same time trying to integrate with the non-Chinese community as well.
"It's more about how the Chinese were treated but yet how we go forward and build a better Canada, or a better world hopefully," he commented. "I'm hoping that people would learn from the film, maybe do some research. It is good to learn your own personal heritage. Canada is built on many different people, that also should look into their own heritage and their own history. They'd probably be surprised what they find, and I'm hoping that together we learn from everyone."
NFB Producer Jon Montes described the documentary as a layered story where filmmaker Weiye Su was trying to understand the larger story of Chinese history in Moose Jaw but through the eyes of one family.
"I think what we wanted to do was to present another story about life in Moose Jaw as opposed to I think a lot of the stories that people might more commonly associate here. Weiye wanted to offer something that spoke to people's more lived experiences, especially in terms of recent history."
He revealed why the Chow family was the perfect subject for the film.
"They're so lovely but I was so struck at the moment that we were filming, they were in the process of moving and they were moving to Regina, which is just 40 minutes down the road, but that's their second big move in their life. The context of that move opened up space for us to talk about that first move that they had when they first immigrated from China."
Montes said the big turnout Wednesday night showed that people are hungry for stories about their own communities.
The event wrapped up with a Q & A session with the Chow family and Director Weiye Su.
A Passage Beyond Fortune can be viewed in its entirety on the National Film Board of Canada website