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Highway to Heaven

Sandra Ignagni
2019 | 16 min 48 s

Selections and Awards

  • Official SelectionToronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada (2019)

  • Official SelectionVancouver International Film Festival, Vancouver, Canada (2019)

  • Official SelectionChicago International Film Festival, Chicago, U.S.A. (2019)

  • Official SelectionReFrame Film Festival, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada (2020)

  • Official SelectionInternational Film Festival of Ottawa , Ottawa, Canada (2020)

  • Official SelectionSalem Film Festival, Salem, Massachusetts (2020)

Short Synopsis

Director's Statement


Promotional Materials


Merging carefully framed images with a symphonic soundscape, filmmaker Sandra Ignagni illuminates the lives of the faithful along Richmond, BC’s No. 5 Road—including nuns at the Lingyen Mountain Buddhist Temple who rise at 2:45 a.m. for their daily morning worship.
A Muslim woman with her children in the women’s section of the Az-Zahraa Mosque, one of many houses of worship located on No.5 Road in Richmond, BC, including Buddhist temples, a Sikh gurdwara, Hindu and Swami temples, Shia and Sunni mosques, Christian churches, and Jewish, Islamic and Christian schools.
A bride peers tentatively into a room in the Sikh Gurdwara (temple) —one of many houses of worship along Richmond, BC’s No. 5 Road captured in Sandra Ignagni’s evocative meditation on multiculturalism, Highway to Heaven.
Young people play basketball, while taking a break from attending a Sikh wedding at the Sikh Gurdwara (temple) on Richmond, BC’s No. 5 Road—also home to Buddhist temples, Hindu and Swami temples, Shia, and Sunni mosques, Christian churches, and Jewish, Islamic and Christian schools.
The serving of Lingyen Mountain Buddhist Temple’s free vegetarian lunches to dozens of worshippers is just one of the intimate moments of faith captured in Sandra Ignagni’s evocative meditation on multiculturalism, Highway to Heaven.
Monks from Thrangu (Tibetan) Buddhist Monastery walk down unassuming No. 5 Road in Richmond, British Columbia, captured in Sandra Ignagni’s evocative meditation on multiculturalism, Highway to Heaven.


Sandra Ignagni
Writer & Director

Sandra Ignagni

Sandra Ignagni trained in film production at Maine Media and is an alumnus of the Summer Intensive program at the UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art. She holds a PhD in Political Science (York University) and a Master of Arts in Indigenous & Canadian Studies (Trent University). Her previous short films have screened at festivals around the world. Ranger was acquired by CBC Canadian Reflections and won the Matrix Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 2017 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. Sandra works at the International Documentary Association and is a regular contributor to Documentary Magazine.

Shirley Vercruysse
Producer, Executive Producer
Photo : Emily Cooper

Shirley Vercruysse

Shirley Vercruysse is the Executive Producer of the National Film Board of Canada’s BC & Yukon Studio, where she leads the team producing documentary and animation projects. The studio’s latest projects include the feature-length documentaries The Whale and the Raven and Because We Are Girls; the musical documentary The Road Forward; the animated shorts Shop Class and The Zoo; the short documentaries Way of the Hunter and Now Is the Time; and the Webby Award-winning documentary series True North: Inside the Rise of Toronto Basketball.

Teri Snelgrove
Associate Producer
Photo : Emily Cooper

Teri Snelgrove

Teri Snelgrove is the Associate Producer at the National Film Board of Canada’s BC & Yukon Studio, where she’s worked on acclaimed documentaries such as Highway to Heaven (Sandra Ignagni), Because We Are Girls (Baljit Sangra), The Road Forward (Marie Clements), Debris (John Bolton), and Beauty (Christina Willings), as well as the interactive project Bread (Mariette Sluyter). She’s also worked on several animated films, including The Mountain of SGaana (Christopher Auchter), Shop Class (Hart Snider), and The Zoo (Julia Kwan). Teri is a Newfoundlander and a graduate of the film/video program at the Emily Carr Institute (now University).


Shot on location along a one mile section of
No. 5 Road in Richmond, British Columbia

With the participation of the following group of neighbours
Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre/Az-Zahraa Islamic Academy
Evangelical Formosan Church of Greater Vancouver
India Cultural Centre of Canada/Gurdwara Nanak Niwas
Kingswood Pub
Lingyen Mountain Temple
Mylora Executive Golf Course
Richmond Jewish Day School
Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Richmond Detachment
Thrangu Tibetan Buddhist Monastery
Trinity Pacific Evangelical Church
Vedic Centre

Written and Directed by
Sandra Ignagni

Shirley Vercruysse

Associate Producer
Teri Snelgrove

Line Producer
Jennifer Roworth

Director of Photography
Andrew Coppin

Milena Salazar

Sound Design
Eva Madden

Sound Recordist
Lisa Kolisnyk
David Pullmer

First Assistant Camera
Mikah Sharkey

Second Assistant Camera
Eva Brownstein

Data Wrangler
Odessa Shuquaya

Paul Murakami

Chalane Hayward

Production Coordinator
Kristyn Stilling

Technical Coordinator
Wes Machnikowski

Production Assistants
Josephine Anderson
Ahmad Ali Jaffer
Sayyidah Jaffer
Hoi Bing Mo
Milena Salazar
Baljit Sangra

Graphic Designer
Tim Linklater

Lionel Barton

Re-recording Mixer
Greg Stewart
Joe Watts

Special Thanks
Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre
Shaykh Murtaza Bachoo, Sukaina Jaffer, Azeem Moledina
and the members of the Az-Zahraa Community

Az-Zahraa Islamic Academy
Vice-Principal Sukaina Jaffer, Principal Oscar Pozzolo
and the students of the school

Evangelical Formosan Church of Greater Vancouver
Pastor Jack Lai, Joshua Lai
and the members of the congregation

Gurdwara Nanak Niwas
Balwant Sanghera, and the friends
and family of the bride and groom

India Cultural Centre of Canada
Balwant Sanghera
and the members of the Executive Committee

Kingswood Pub
Keith Hawkins
and the patrons of the pub

Lingyen Mountain Temple
Master Shui-Fong, Zhiyin Hu, Lotus Sie
and the Lingyen nuns and Lay people

Mylora Executive Golf Course
Scott Anderson, Bryan Jacob, Scott Wilson
and the ladies business league captain’s tournament

Richmond Jewish Day School
Vice-Principal Lisa Romalis, Principal Patrick Von Hahn
and the students of the school

Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Richmond
Constable Frank Bryson, Corporal David Edge, Corporal Dennis Hwang 
and members of the police force

Thrangu Tibetan Buddhist Monastery
Tenzin Yonten and the Thrangu Monks and practitioners

Trinity Pacific Evangelical Church
Senior Pastor Frank Klassen, Associate Pastor Patrick Hsu, Riad Klassen and the members of the congregation

Vedic Centre
Bimla Singh, Rikta Singh, the yoga class participants
and the members of the Vedic Community

Project Participants
Abba Brodt
Dale Burdhial
Chris Carmichael
Carol Day
Kevin Krygier
Bill McNulty
Savitri Narayan
Harold Steves
Justin Tse

Development Mentorship
J. P. Sniadecki
Brett Story
UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art 
Christopher Allen
Lucila Moctezuma
Martha Shane

Thank You
John Bolton
Magor Family
Daniel Froidevaux
John Roddick
Dana Rae Warren
Chris Sheldon
Evan Merriweather

Marketing Manager
Kay Rondonneau

Katja De Bock

Studio Administrator
Carla Jones

Executive Producer
Shirley Vercruysse

Executive Director, English Program
Michelle Van Beusekom


©2019 National Film Board of Canada

Press Relations

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