A community based project featuring a collection of short films about the history of the Japanese Canadian Internment in New Denver BC, created by students at Lucerne school, community members and two filmmakers.
In 1942 over 22,000 Canadians of Japanese descent were stripped of their rights and property and interned in camps throughout the interior of BC. The 3rd largest camp and the only one remaining at the end of WW II, was in New Denver, BC. Today, it is home to the Nikkei Memorial Internment Centre, a National Historic Site that houses original internment shacks, historic photos, letters and artefacts. “Telling the Stories of the Nikkei: The history of the Japanese Canadian Internment in New Denver” is a multi-faceted community based project that blossomed out of the Lucerne School in New Denver BC. Grade 11 and 12 students learned about the former internment site with their Social Studies and English teachers, Terry Taylor and Gary Parkstrom. As part of this curriculum, they created short films honouring the history and elders of Japanese ancestry who still reside in New Denver. In addition to this, filmmakers Moira Simpson & Catrina Megumi Longmuir (who taught the film workshops) created several companion films including a documentary about the student projects, and films with community members and elders who share their stories about the internment. Telling the Story of the Nikkei, while deeply rooted in the tiny community of New Denver, encompasses global themes of injustice, racism, displacement, and ultimately human capacities for resilience and forgiveness.
Max Bonazzo, Atli Bokstrom, Evan Gustafson, Marcus Mellen
Moira Simpson, Terry Taylor, Catrina Megumi Longmuir
This film was created by English & Social Studies students at Lucerne Secondary School New Denver, as part of their curriculum in learning about the history of the Japanese Canadian Internment during WWII.
The following is their Artist Statement:
We hope that others will be able walk away with a greater understanding of the Japanese interment, and the treatment they went through not only during WW II, but after the war as well.
What really stands out for us is the hardship the Japanese Canadians went through in the first uprooting when they were moved from coastal B.C. to the New Denver area in the winter of 1942.
We chose to make a short powerful project with strong imagery to give an idea of how hard the first winter was for all those interned.