Canadian filmmaker Jeanette Kong weaves together the strands of her Chinese-Jamaican identity as she recounts her father’s immigration journey—from China to Jamaica—and then eventually to Toronto, Canada. Drawing on her dad’s eloquent journal writing, and connecting with family around the globe, the filmmaker paints a deeply honest portrait of the Hakka migration experience. Why brave the hardships of immigration, not once, but twice in a single lifetime? Part personal memoir and part archival history, this is a story of courage, resilience and sacrifice: a daughter’s loving tribute to her immigrant father and to her Hakka heritage.
Official Selection at 2021 Reelworld Film Festival, 2022 Yorkton Film Festival, 2022 Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival and the 2022 Immigration Film Festival
Jeanette’s warm passion to probe into and appreciate his hidden life certainly carries us to eye-opening pages of intricate life histories of those migrants/diasporas who have courageously proceeded with inevitable choices, albeit awkward to some. Her insertions of intelligible archival research, delicate interviews and personal lived experiences, added by his/their further migration to and re-settlement in Toronto, also revealing her own identification, are impressive and even provocative. Surely, the featured stories, introducing hitherto unknown ‘facts’, and the inspiring scenes and sounds will critically challenge our still superficial understanding of them, and expand our imaginations, historical and otherwise. This is definitely a must-watch. — Yoshiko Shibata, Professor Emeritus, Graduate School of Intercultural Studies/Faculty of Human Cultural Sciences, Kobe University
About the filmmaker
Jeanette Kong, the driving force behind Jiang Media Inc., creates films that explore the history and culture of the Hakka people through a deeply personal lens. As a Jamaican-born, Chinese-Canadian documentarian, she has produced and directed several acclaimed films about the largely untold stories of the Chinese in Jamaica.
Her 2012 feature Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China, about American media entrepreneur Paula Williams Madison’s search for her Chinese grandfather aired on the Africa Channel and was shortlisted for Best Diaspora Documentary at the 2014 Africa Movie Academy Awards. Screened at film festivals around the globe, it was the opening night gala at the 2015 Reelworld Film Festival where it won the ReelChoice Audience Award.
Jeanette’s short films —The Chiney Shop and Half: The Story of a Chinese-Jamaican Son — screened at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, the Regent Park Film Festival, Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival in Brooklyn, New York, the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago, and the Penn Museum in Philadelphia. In 2014, they were chosen to commemorate the 160th Anniversary of the Arrival of the Chinese to Jamaica at the Institute of Jamaica.
A journalist by training, Jeanette honed her craft as a producer and director of arts and current affairs features at TVOntario.