“CLOSE ENCOUNTERS” Celebrates Diversity in Richmond, BC

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Richmond BC| In keeping with the festive spirit of the season, Cinevolution Media Arts Society will be presenting “Close Encounters: A Celebration of Diversity in Richmond” on:
Saturday, December 15, 2012
from 11am to 3:30pm
at the Richmond Cultural Centre, 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond, BC

While both the film and the book explore the Chinese experience, we hope these two opening stories will serve to spark a broader conversation about shared experiences of migration, as well as the challenges and benefits of intercultural exchange.

Event Details

Date Saturday December 15
Venue Performance Hall @ Richmond Cultural Centre
(7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond, BC)


11:00am Screening and DVD release:
Lost Years: A People’s Struggle for Justice
(in English w/Chinese subtitles)
an epic documentary touches upon 150 years of the Chinese diaspora in Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia
1:15pm Book launch & presentation:
Escape to Gold Mountain: A Graphic History of the Chinese in North America
by author David H.T. Wong
1:45pm Community dialogue on the “power potential” of intercultural engagement and exchange.
2:45pm Book signing, Book & DVD sale

About Escape to Gold Mountain

UntitledEscape to Gold Mountain is the first graphic novel to tell the story of Chinese immigration to Canada and the US over the past 100-plus years. Based on historical documents and interviews with elders, this is a vivid history of the Chinese in their search for “Gold Mountain” (the Chinese colloquialism for North America) as seen through the eyes of the Wong family. They traverse the challenges of seeking out an existence in their adopted homeland with hope and determination, creating a poignant immigrant’s legacy for their sons and daughters.

“Escape to Gold Mountain is a graphic history book about the experiences of the Chinese people in North America. It’s written by Vancouver architect David H.T. Wong and is full of beautiful drawings and comic book style dialogue and text. Together, the pictures and words tell the incredible story of struggle and perseverance.” – Sheryl MacKay (CBC radio – North by Northwest)

“It’s engaging, fast-paced, and at some points, hilarious […] If someone had given me a history of Chinese people in North America in comic book form when I was a kid, I’d have loved it. With its easy-to-read format and gripping illustrations, this book provides an appealing avenue to learn history.” – Kelly Yang (Asian Review of Books)

“(The book) as a tool to promote not only Chinese American and Chinese Canadian history, but also social justice and anti-racism, David Wong revealed that he intends to continue to use his book as an educational opportunity for teachers and students alike.” – Asian Canadian Writers Workshop Society

“The First Nations people have a great oral tradition, and David H.T. Wong’s comic book is a wonderful way to continue that tradition, along with his illustrations. This is a book for new and future generations that will create pride in the rich cultures we share.” – Leonard George (Chief, Tsleil-Waututh Nation)

About Lost Years

Lost Years tells a similar story in a different medium. This epic documentary touches upon 150 years of the Chinese diaspora in Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia, covering four generations of racism as revealed through the journey and family story of Kenda Gee.

The film packed the house during its Vancouver premiere earlier this year. This second screening will give other members of the community the chance to witness a poignant part of Canadian history that is often overlooked in textbooks.

“A beautifully told story of Chinese immigration to Canada … a tribute to the early Chinese immigrants who left all they knew to begin a new life on Gold Mountain” – Vernon Morning Star

“emotive composition, great archival sources, and overall reverent” – Schema Magazine

“an examination of the larger Chinese immigrant experience”- Edmonton Journal

“chronicles 150 years of Chinese diaspora history in Canada and beyond … a film that illuminates” – Georgia Straight


David H. T. Wong

David H.T. Wong was born and raised in Vancouver. He is an accomplished Architect and a respected Asian-Canadian activist whose family first came to North America from China 130 years ago.

David is a founding Director for the Pacific Canada Heritage Centre Society, the Chinese-Canadian Historical Society, the Chief Dan George Centre for Advanced Education, and ExplorAsian: Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society. Trained as a Biologist, he continues his love for nature with his on-going efforts to save frogs, highlighted in 2009 with Vancouver’s Mayor proclaiming “Save the Frogs Day”, the first city in the world to do so. David was named by the Vancouver Sun as one of BC’s “100 most influential Chinese-Canadians”. In 2012, he was a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of his championing of causes for environmental preservation, cultural harmony and community building. His first book, Escape to Gold Mountain is a graphic novel that documents the history of the Chinese in North America.

Alan Hill

Alan Hill works for Diversity Services at The City of Richmond. He emigrated to Canada from the UK in 2005 after meeting his Vietnamese- Canadian wife while working on a two year contract in Botswana. He has Masters Degree from the University of Leeds (UK) in International Development. He has a keen personal and professional interest in intercultural communication and how all cultural groups can work together to create a vibrant and inclusive community life. He also has a passionate interest in the literary arts and earlier this year published his first collection of poetry.

Susanne Tabata

Susanne Tabata is a documentarian, digital media producer, and instructional designer whose passion is to elevate west coast stories into the arts.

She recently created Bloodied But Unbowed and thepunkmovie.com – the documentary film and on-line site which chronicle the Vancouver punk scene of the late 1970s (Knowledge Network, TVOntario, Superchannel and SCN broadcasters). The film is being exhibited around the world and just completed a 28 day theatrical run in Tokyo. Under the company moniker of Tabata Productions, this project is the third in a series of films which explore worlds on the edge of mainstream culture. Skategirl is a film about the parallel journeys of professional women’s skateboarders (FOXFuel LosAngeles) and 49Degrees is the west coast surfing subculture film (CBC/FOXFuel LosAngeles). She also produced the Nettfilms Jason Priestley directed “Barenaked in America” which chronicles the US tour Canadian band The Barenaked Ladies.

Tabata grew up in a bicultural family and was educated in Tokyo, Nanaimo and Victoria before moving to Vancouver in 1978 to study International Relations at UBC. In 2012 she produced a tribute video to honour UBC Japanese Canadian Students whose studies were interrupted during World War II. Tabata also designed, wrote, produced and

directed the 10 part ethnography series for the Japanese Canadian National Museum called Ohanashi: Stories of Our Elders – a detailed examination of the experiences of Japanese Canadians who were interned during World War II – a story familiar to her father whose experiences are shared in the series.

Tabata has a background as an instructional designer, creating learning resources which advance the discussion of social justice. Programs for all ages on topics of racism & immigration, First Nations, poverty & prejudice, homophobia, bullying, learning disabilities, the environment and media literacy have been used throughout North American learning centres. Noteworthy are: “Us&Them: Canadian identity & Race Relations”; “U-turn” featuring Severn Cullis-Suzuki; “Talk to Me” the first classroom resource in Canada which examines racism, homophobia, social prejudice, and gender inequality , “Shaking the Tree: Social Responsibility in Education” starring Noam Chomsky; “Focus On Bullying”; the “Transitions” series of programs for students with LD or ADHD. These programs are produced in partnership with private and public organizations.

Yun-Jou Chang

Yun-Jou Chang is currently the Managing Director at Cinevolution Media Arts Society. She was born in Belgium, but largely grew up between the metropolitan vibe of Taipei and the small town charm of Prince Rupert. Though by no means an expert, her mixed upbringing has given her a unique vantage point from which to navigate the murky waters of cultural identity. Drawing upon her background in English and Sociology from UBC, Yun-Jou seeks to empower members of the community by recognizing and documenting the artistry intrinsic to daily practices of culture. Ask her about her project on grandma’s recipes some time.

Michael Yue (host)

Michael Yue serves on the Board of the Cinevolution Media Arts Society. He has many years of experience in community voluntary work, having been involved with civic education and community engagement programs such as Active Citizenship Training and Study Circles. As an educator, Michael believes in the power of learning in any forms as a way of developing a better society. He works as Senior Project Coordinator at the Vancouver Community College and holds a Master of Education degree from the University of British Columbia.

Co-presented by

Presenting Partners

Community Partners

.   .  

We’re extremely excited to be presenting David’s book and Kenda’s film in Richmond where the population is so diverse.  Through dialogue, we want to explore the possibilities opened up by those moments of encounter when the story of the Chinese also becomes the story of the First Nations people, the Japanese, the South Asians, and the white settlers.

Yun-Jou Chang, Managing Director
Cinevolution Media Group

Media Relations:  Yun-jou Chang

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