A Film On Challenges Faced By Filipino Immigrant Families And Others
Early few months for every immigrant are hard, but please don’t give up. Life will reward you.
It was the most happiest moment of Toronto single mother Melona Banico’s life when she reunited with her children after a period of eight long years.
Banico, a teacher by profession, migrated from Philippines when her aunt sponsored her as a caretaker.
After settling down in the GTA, she realized that it was not so easy to sponsor her two daughters Judelyn and Jeah, son Jade and grandson Clyde (Judelyn’s son) from the Philippines to Canada for a better future.
In order to match the Ministry of Immigration’s sponsorship criteria, Banico simultaneously worked three jobs for several years and finally managed to bring her family to Canada.
Amid emotional scenes, Banico and her children reunited at Toronto Pearson International Airport after being apart for eight years. But their initial excitement of reuniting in a dreamland wore off quickly as they had to face the harsh economic realities in a new competitive world.
Instead of doing odd jobs and living a lower-class life, they wanted to go back to Philippines for a better lifestyle. They suddenly thrust upon each other and started to fight.
Due to financial crisis and unexpected family conflicts, Banico regrets sponsoring her family to Canada.
On the special occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary, TVO is releasing a documentary film that follows the Banico family on their emotional journey as they arrive in Toronto from the Philippines and reuniting after eight years.
The 58-minute film,
My First 150 Days,
is commissioned by TVO and produced by 90th Parallel Productions.
On Thursday, Feb. 23, TVO is hosting a screening of
My First 150 Days
at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema at 6:30 p.m.
The documentary makes its broadcast première on TVO on Wednesday, April 12, at 9 p.m.
“This film about an immigrant family is being released to celebrate 150th anniversary of Canada, which is a nation built by immigrants,” said Dianna Dai, director and writer of My First 150 Days. “It’s all about immigrants and their first 150 days in Canada. It sends out a message that ‘don’t give up, there is always a hope’. If you work hard, there is a hope. To adjust and settle in a completely new society, you have to work harder than local people.”
Dai, an immigrant from China, said many families often fall prey to conflict because of the cultural disconnect over a period of time.
Every year, more than 250,000 people come to Canada. Most of the settle in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, Oakville, Scarborough, Richmond Hills and other big cities such as Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.
“This film is not only about the struggle and new life in Canada, but also about the conflict between a mother and her children, who want to go back to their home country because of the hardship.
“It (conflict) often happens because, over a period of time, the mindset of the sponsor always changes to western style,” said Dai, adding it is very common in people coming from Asian or South Asian countries like China or India.
“Early few months for every immigrant are hard, but please don’t give up,” said Dai. “Life will reward you.”
Nouman Khalil is a reporter with The Mississauga News, Brampton Guardian and South Asian Focus. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NKhalil25 .