2000, 30 minutes, digital video, color, White Pine Pictures Roles: writer, director, narrator, co-editor Episode for Scattering of Seeds series
Linda Ohama's "The Traveling Reverend" is the inspiring story of Reverend Y. Kawamura, a Japanese Buddhist priest who settled in southern Alberta in 1934. Reverend Kawamura single-handedly attended to the needs of Buddhists over a very large and remote region, often traveling through adverse conditions and long distances by foot, horse and wagon and car. His services provided spiritual solace and guidance to a group that was otherwise very isolated from their cultural and religious communities.
In this documentary, Ohama travels with the elderly reverend and retraces some of the routes and places of his earlier years. Rare 8mm footage from this era and shot by the reverend, who was an avid amateur camera man, provides a unique glimpse into the lives and places which sustained many Japanese Canadians who were removed from their homes on the West Coast of B.C. in 1942.
First window national broadcaster: History Television
"A personal and evocative series, celebrating the grit and character of unsung immigrants." History Television
During the filming of this project for the "The Scattering of Seeds" series, I accidentally discovered a rich archive of 8mm film in the basement of the Reverend's house in Raymond, Alberta. This valuable record of history was shot by Reverend Kawamura during his extensive travels as a minister during and after World War II. He recorded visits to interned families, to laborers in sugar beet fields, the community celebrations, deaths and weddings at a time when many Japanese Canadians did not have cameras, let alone movie cameras, because of the war.
Some of this original footage is in "The Traveling Reverend", and other footage from this collection was used in the sugar beet scenes of "Obaachan's Garden".
On another day during the filming, we visited an abandoned Buddhist church on the prairies. As we explored the rooms and shot scenes for "The Traveling Reverend", we discovered piles of thrown out old photographs, amongst them were pictures of my grandmother's smiling face and myself as a child. They were hints for another piece of work, "Obaachan's Garden".