Thursday, 8 November 2012

defining the space

In Canada, diversity often means "one ethnicity + hyphen + Canadian," but what if you don't fit into an easy category? What if your background is a hybrid of ancestries and you live somewhere between, where cultural identities overlap?

Between interweaves the experiences of a group of Canadians with one parent from a European background and one from a visible minority. They're all struggling to find a satisfying frame of reference. Cultural identity, it seems, is more complex than what our multicultural utopia implies.

Seven individuals share stories of being multi-ethnic in a world that wants to put each person into a single category. Among them are award-winning poet Fred Wah, who recalls being told by his elementary teacher that he was Chinese, even though his background also includes Irish, Scottish and Swedish ancestry. When visiting China, however, he finds that he is not accepted as Chinese because he is mixed.

Shannon Waters, who is half-Coast Salish, is questioned for participating in the First Nations Family Practice program. Although she chooses to identify with her Aboriginal ancestry, her connection with that background is challenged because of her appearance.

The thought-provoking experiences of these Canadians come to life against an innovative visual landscape and soundscape. Filmmaker Anne Marie Nakagawa, drawing on her work as a multimedia artist, creates a stylistic documentary that plays with form.

2005, 43 min 43 s

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