After a solid year and a half of working on Redress Remix, Stitch Media presented its newest documentary at a private screening at the Toronto Underground Cinema, one month before its small screen debut on Canadian channel OMNI.
Partners and producers Victoria Ha and Evan Jones, who respectively work out of Toronto and Halifax, call this project a case study in digital and classic media, integrating interactive components into its production and final product. The doc revolves around the events surrounding the Redress movement (a movement of Chinese Canadians looking for a refund of the head tax on Chinese immigrants) and the 2006 government apology to the Chinese Canadian community for the Head Tax and Exclusion Act of 1923.
It was a massive undertaking for Stitch – ‘epic’ as Ha and Jones described – and its biggest to date. Because they would be employing a variety of media in production and the final product, from animation techniques, to new music and web videos, they scoured Canada looking for the right director to tackle the project. With experience ranging from stop-motion to short films and what Jones calls ‘a different sense of how a story can fit across different platforms,’ Lesley Loksi Chan (Making Ladies, zoo) was a perfect fit.
Jones’ work in the interactive realm helped shape the doc when he and Ha struggled to figure out which points of view to highlight. He and his team developed the website during the film’s production and used it to pose relevant questions about the Redress movement to subjects. ‘They responded to the questions via webcam and this was a major part of the doc,’ he says, adding that those video responses remain as an archive on the site. ‘Before we made anything, we did focus testing with concepts and themes.’
Ha is banking on the overall universal appeal of the project to draw in viewers. ‘Everyone faces immigration,’ states Ha. ‘(Redress Remix) has to benefit the Canadian community, not just the Chinese Canadian community.’
Redress Remix airs on OMNI on June 20, and Stitch is looking to take the doc to the festival circuit. It was executive produced by David Smith of S & S Productions with support from OMNI Television and the participation of the Community Historical Recognition Program.