The NCFD, presented by non-profit organization REEL Canada, is a film festival with more than 800 Canadian film screenings and events expected across the country.
Iron Road tells the story of the Chinese workers who came to Canada in the 1880s to build the transcontinental railway in the country. The film is to be screened at the cinema of XINFLIX Media Inc. on Wednesday.
The film title, a literal translation of "railroad" from Chinese into English, symbolizes the interface of the underdog lured by the "Gold Mountain" dream who ends up abused and exploited as cheap labor.
For Chinese railroad workers and early migrants to Canada, "Iron Road" gives a face to those nameless and voiceless who perished en masse in history.
The film depicts the history through the romance between a young Chinese woman named Little Tiger and a Canadian man James. Little Tiger, disguised as a boy, goes in search of her railroad-worker father in British Columbia in western Canada. James' father runs a company that builds the railroad.
The international cast includes China's Sun Li and American stars Peter O'Toole and Sam Neill, and Canada's Luke MacFarlane. It's the first epic movie based on that dark era of Chinese-Canadian history at the turn of the late 19th Century.
Over 17,000 Chinese workers were recruited to build railroads in Canada and hundreds of them lost their lives.
When the project was completed, then Canadian government started to collect a "Chinese Head Tax" from the workers and their families who settled down there. The tax was later replaced by the "Chinese Exclusion Act." It was not until 2006 that Canada issued redress and an apology.