Within Moose Jaw’s warm sepia landscape, A Passage Beyond Fortune follows the Chow family as they reflect on the popular but untrue myth surrounding the city’s underground tunnels. Filmmaker Weiye Su brings us a tender archive containing the buried histories of those whose lasting cultural imprints have offered new ways of connecting with ourselves and our communities.
Through an intimate archive of the Chow’s family lineage, A Passage Beyond Fortune offers an homage to the culturally significant but buried history of Chinese-Canadian communities in Moose Jaw.
A city’s fortune is only as rich as its stories.
“When the tunnels started, they never talked to the Chinese community,” Gale recounts. “They say Chinese people lived in [the tunnels] and hid in here… not that I know of!” Old framed photographs and documents are fanned out on the dining room table as Gale Chow sits with his wife Myrna and their sons. The Chow family lives in Moose Jaw, where a popular but untrue story about the city’s underground tunnels persists. In A Passage Beyond Fortune, filmmaker Weiye Su follows the Chows as they reflect on this harmful myth and the entanglement of their family’s overlapping roots in Moose Jaw, dating back to the 1880s.
Within the city’s warm sepia landscape, the Chows share the experiences that have shaped their lives and the way anti-Chinese immigration policies fractured their family’s settlement in Moose Jaw. As they prepare for an inner province move, Gale and Myrna pack up the visual lineage of their family: dense photo albums, heirloom ceramics, a beloved erhu played by Gale for 20 years—the evidence of a deep sense of identity still maintained in their family. Myrna stands beside the “For Sale” sign in front of their home. “It’s hard not to miss it,” she says. “We’ve been living here for so long.”
Myrna and Gale’s warm laughter echoes throughout A Passage Beyond Fortune as they show us photographs of their younger years and participate in local activities, exchanging networks of care through recurring volleyball games and celebrations of Chinese New Year. A Passage Beyond Fortune is not only an homage to the Chows’ fortune of stories; it’s a tender archive containing the buried and blurred histories of those whose lasting cultural imprints have offered new ways of connecting with ourselves and our communities.
Written and Directed by
With the participation of
Directors of Photography
Cello Performance of
Jasmine Flowers (Mo li hua) by
Past Regrets by Emmett Cooke
Premium Beat by Shutterstock
Strings of Emotion by Jack Pierce
Premium Beat by Shutterstock
Mary Lee Booth
Jade Garden Restaurant & Staff
Moose Jaw Chinese Community Network
Uptown Café & Staff
Archival footage from Project Integrate (1973)
Courtesy of Tim Yee
Studio Operations Managers
Senior Production Coordinator
Katja de Bock
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada