Project Lead: Dr. Y-Dang Troeung, Assistant Professor, Department of English
This short narrative film traces one memorable day in a Cambodian refugee family’s life in the small town of Goderich, Ontario as the family negotiates the everyday questions of what it means to survive and reinvent life in a new country. As a work of creative non-fiction, "Easter Epic" interweaves family history, national history, and world history, tracing the trajectories of migration between Cambodia and Canada in relation to the Canadian government's refugee sponsorship program in the 1980s. “Easter Epic” was the nickname given to the National Hockey League (NHL) ice hockey game played on April 18, 1987 between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This game, which went into quadruple overtime, represented one of the longest games in NHL playoff history, starting on Saturday evening but not finishing until the early hours of Easter Sunday. The short film interweaves the “Easter Epic” hockey game with the events of April 18, 1987 as lived by the Cambodian refugee family. Exploring the thematic of refugees in the rural, the film "Easter Epic" complicates imaginings of the “grateful" or "lucky" refugee, examining instead the complexity of refugee lifeworlds marked by intervals of loss and violence, as well as pleasure and play. “Easter Epic” encourages audiences to reflect on how this chapter in Canadian/Cambodian history continues to hold relevance in the face of contemporary refugee resettlements.
The first element of this project will be an online reading of the script-in-progress, which will take place in late summer or fall 2021. Sign up for the IHRC newsletter to find out when.