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Between: Living in the Hyphen

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In Canada, diversity often means "one ethnicity + hyphen + Canadian," but what if you don't fit into an easy category? What if your background is a hybrid of ancestries and you live somewhere between, where cultural identities overlap?

Between interweaves the experiences of a group of Canadians with one parent from a European background and one from a visible minority. They're all struggling to find a satisfying frame of reference. Cultural identity, it seems, is more complex than what our multicultural utopia implies.

Seven individuals share stories of being multi-ethnic in a world that wants to put each person into a single category. Among them are award-winning poet Fred Wah, who recalls being told by his elementary teacher that he was Chinese, even though his background also includes Irish, Scottish and Swedish ancestry. When visiting China, however, he finds that he is not accepted as Chinese because he is mixed.

Shannon Waters, who is half-Coast Salish, is questioned for participating in the First Nations Family Practice program. Although she chooses to identify with her Aboriginal ancestry, her connection with that background is challenged because of her appearance.

The thought-provoking experiences of these Canadians come to life against an innovative visual landscape and soundscape. Filmmaker Anne Marie Nakagawa, drawing on her work as a multimedia artist, creates a stylistic documentary that plays with form.

As globalization increasingly blurs borders, Between offers a provocative glimpse of what the future holds: a movement away from hyphens and "pure" bloodlines, towards a celebration of fluidity, hybridity and being mixed.

2005, 43 min 43 s

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Bronze Plaque - Category: Social Issues
International Film and Video Festival
November 7 to 12 2006, Columbus - USA

Golden Sheaf Award - Category: Best Multicultural Film
Yorkton Film Festival
May 25 to 28 2006, Yorkton - Canada

Best Production Reflecting Cultural Diversity - with a cash prize of $5,000
Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association - AMPIA
April 29 2006, Edmonton - Canada

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