Best Documentary Winner Lost Years Takes on Diplomatic Mission

By David Li,

Boston, Feb. 20, 2013, — I received the DVD of Lost Years on Feb. 16, the same day when Lost Years won the Best Feature Documentary Award at Asians on Film Festival Premiere in Los Angeles (North Hollywood). It was a wonderful Chinese New Year gift from my friend Canadian director Kenda Gee. The film was also recently nominated for Best Original Music, Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on Feb. 27.
Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel presents a copy of Lost Years to Mr. Jiang Kun, Secretary General of the China Literature and Art Foundation in Beijing, January 7, 2013 (Photo: City of Edmonton)

According to its Facebook page, Lost Years is an international award-winning documentary covering 150 years of the Chinese diaspora in Canada, US, New Zealand and Australia, and the modern day campaigns for redress arising from decades of anti-Chinese racism.

The documentary film is as impressive as the Chinese Canadians’ movement for redress itself. The following is from the back cover of Lost Years DVD.

“Lost Years is an epic documentary touching 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. Kenda Gee, a Chinese Canadian, travels with his father to China to retrace the steps of his great-grandfather, exactly a century ago, and grandfather, who sailed to Canada in the summer of 1921. For thousands of Chinese immigrants that year, it was a journey of hope that turned into a nightmare when they were confronted with racism and the head tax, depriving them of their rights as citizens.

Kenda’s journey takes him across Canada, tracing the experiences of wrongs of the past. The apology of the Canadian government in 2006 only opens new questions about what impact redress in Canada has on individuals and communities at home and abroad. To find answers, Kenda travels to the USA, New Zealand and Australia where racist immigration policies destroyed as many lives there as in Canada. He discovers that the fight for human rights knows no borders, that the spark struck by the fight for justice of Chinese Canadians has lit a flame that burns around the world.”

One of the many outstanding Chinese Canadians interviewed by Kenda in the film, Larry Kwong was recently featured on New York Times. In the article A Hockey Pioneer’s Moment, David Davis wrote:”Long before Jeremy Lin transfixed the N.B.A. and New York City, Kwong was the first player of Chinese descent to appear in the N.H.L. He played for the Rangers in one game, for one shift, during the 1947-48 season.” Kwong left Rangers after the 1947-48 season, and later played Hockey in Canada and Europe for many years. Kwong was inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year.

In his visit to Beijing, China in January 2013, Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel brought a few copies of Lost Years DVD with him. Mr. Jiang Kun, one of the most popular Xiangsheng actors in China, and government officials happily received this special gift.