TORONTO, Dec. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Historical wrongdoings, government
apologies and one Canadian's journey into his family's past are the
focus of the new documentary A Sorry State, a TVO commission making its world broadcast premiere Wednesday January 9 at 9 pm. As a Japanese-Canadian with an Aboriginal stepmother and a stepfather
with Chinese ancestry, filmmaker Mitch Miyagawa's family is perhaps one
of the most apologized-to families in the country. His family has
received three government apologies for past misdeeds. Wondering how
he'll pass on his family's legacy to his young sons, Mitch is prompted
to revisit history and investigate the meaning - and impact - of formal
Based on his 2009 essay of the same name, A Sorry State sees Mitch retracing his family's past, one tightly interwoven with
Canada's own history. He begins his journey in Alberta, where he meets
up with his father, Bob Miyagawa. Born in British Columbia to Japanese
immigrants, Bob and his parents were forced to relocate to labour camps
in Picture Butte, Alberta in 1942 after the attack on Pearl Harbor. To
Mitch's surprise, his father isn't angry and feels he didn't need Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's 1988 apology.
Harvey, Mitch's Chinese stepfather, reacts similarly to Stephen Harper's 2006 apology to Chinese Canadians. In 1919, Harvey's grandfather had to pay a $500 head tax - an enormous
sum at that time - in order for Harvey's father to enter Canada. But
for Harvey, it was simply the price you paid for a better life.
However, Mitch's visit with his stepmother Etheline - a survivor of the
Aboriginal residential school system and the third generation of her
family to attend a residential school - reveals that apologies haven't healed the wounds for many in the Aboriginal community.
"Government apologies are a window to the real history of Canada, and a
reflection about what we value now as a nation," says writer/director
Mitch Miyagawa. "I also think that apologies, and how we deal with the
mistakes we make in our personal lives, are a key part of what it means
to be human. They can be powerful or meaningless, they can heal or
hurt. I wanted to touch on that universal experience by telling my
"TVO is pleased to play a role in getting A Sorry State made," says Jane Jankovic, TVO's commissioning editor. "In a country as
diverse as ours, where nationhood and a sense of identity are important
to us as citizens, Mitch Miyagawa's story provides an opportunity for
discussion around what being Canadian means to each of us, and examines
the impact of being told you're not Canadian enough."
A Sorry State was co-produced by Alberta-based Panacea Entertainment and Yukon-based Up and Away Productions in association with TVO.
A Sorry State will also air Wednesday January 9 at midnight, Thursday January 10 at 9
pm and Sunday January 13 at 11 pm. The film can also be streamed at
TVO's Doc Studio following its world premiere broadcast on Wednesday January 9 at 9 pm.
Doc Studio is an online showcase and learning community for
point-of-view documentary filmmaking.
TVO is Ontario's public educational media organization and a trusted
source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and
stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO's vision is to empower people to
be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded
primarily by the Province of Ontario and is a registered charity
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