[Reportage] Kanaval, the story of a child and “an entire country”

The producer was enchanted by Rico’s story, perhaps because of her personal journey or her interest in immigration stories, which have little place in the Canadian and Quebec media.

I was seduced by the story. This nine-year-old boy arrives in Canada with his mother and is convinced he has landed on a planet filled with aliens. I found this interesting because often, when you’re not from here or when you’re different, it’s quite the opposite: you feel like the alien who arrives. And Henry [Pardo] wanted to reverse this story from the child’s point of view.

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Daniela Mujica is a producer for TV and cinema. His parents are of Chilean origin.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Paloma Martínez Méndez

With Kanavalactor, filmmaker and screenwriter Henri Pardo enters the world of feature films for the first time, but the plot is not completely unknown to him.

This story is mine, that of my mother and my family, that of our uprooting from Haiti. No matter where we come from, each new arrival carries within them a rich and sometimes wonderful existence which would benefit from being better known in the host countries.

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The Haitian community in Canada

The presence of Haitian immigration in Canada dates back several decades. According to the 2021 Canadian Census, there are an estimated 170,000 Haitians living in Canada, with a significant concentration in the metropolitan areas of Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, among others.

Haitians began to settle in the country in the 1960s, fleeing the Duvalier dictatorship in search of better economic realities and political stability.

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Women of Haitian origin during a meeting in Montreal in 1992.

Photo: Pamela Harris / Library and Archives Canada / Bibliotheque et archives nationaux

Over the years, Haitian immigration has contributed significantly to the cultural diversity and social fabric of Canada, by actively participating in the life of the community and creating organizations to support its members.

The Haitian community in Canada continues to play an important role in various areas of Canadian society, from politics to the economy, and has demonstrated remarkable resilience over time.

The journey of the film

>>A woman talks to a boy · A woman has a child.>>

A scene from the film “Kanaval”.

Photo: Maison4tiers / Cortesía

Kanaval has been awarded at international festivals such as the Toronto International Film FestivalTIFF in Toronto, where he won the prize Amplify Voices for best film and an honorable mention for best Canadian film. He also won the audience prize at the Cinémania festival.

At the Canadian Screen Awards, the film was nominated in several categories, including best director for Henri Pardo and best performance in a drama for young actor Rayan Dieudonné, who played the lead role. Kanaval is also in the running for the John Dunning Award in the Best First Feature Film category.

The film was released in theaters on Friday, May 3 in Quebec and will be screened at various festivals and cultural events abroad.

The country we are from

>>According to the 2021 Census, Canadians who belong to an ethnocultural minority represent approximately 23% of the population, or nearly 8 million people.>>

According to the 2021 Census, Canadians who belong to an ethnocultural minority represent approximately 23% of the population, or nearly 8 million people.

Photo: iStock

In Canada, a huge job was accomplished to show that it is important to tell stories that may seem different, but which are part of the country we are fromrecognizes Daniela Mujica.

Migration stories are part of what our country is today. Kanaval is an example. But there are many others and in almost every project I participate in there is the point of view of people who came to Canada, by choice or by obligation, and who were forced to leave their country.

The producer recognizes that the film and media environment is very exclusive, particularly when a person is from a visible or audible minority, or if they are a woman.

>>In Canada, the first television channel appeared in 1952.>>

In Canada, the first television channel appeared in 1952.

Photo: iStock

However, spaces have gradually opened up. Daniela Mujica participated in the creation of one of them, the M•É•D•I•A• coalition. This organization promotes equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility for professionals from French-speaking communities underrepresented in the Canadian film industry.

For this Canadian of Chilean origin, it was important to contribute to this inclusive movement, because this diversity is very, very rich and must be highlighted, she concludes.

This report is also available in Spanish

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