Becoming Labrador

Closing night Film

Sunday, October 20th, 2019   I    Reception, 4:30-5:30, Awards 6:00pm, Screening 6:30pm I    Famous Players, Canada Square

70 Minutes   I   Canada    I   Ontario Premiere

Join us on Sunday, October 20th, 2019 for the 19th annual Reelworld Film Festival Awards and Closing Night Gala film.


The evening will include a cocktail reception and screening of the feature film Becoming Labrador.


Rohan Fernando, Tamara Segura, Justin Simms


Epitacia Bruce, Kukai Hunter, Edeta Verzosa, Rey Villanueva


Justin Simms


Hannele Halm


Annette Clarke, Rohan Fernando

Production Company

National Film Board of Canada

Lead Animator

Fred Casia

Original Music

Asif Illyas

Sound Designer

Mélanie Gauthier

A whole generation of Filipino men & women have travelled halfway across the world to work in Labrador, leaving behind families and friends as they struggle to adjust to a remarkably different climate and culture in Canada.


With a growing number of Filipino migrants looking for work in the icy plains of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Directors Rohan Fernando, Tamara Segura, and Justin Simms take an intimate look at what it means to uproot yourself to try and find a new home. 


Everyone does their best to keep in touch with the people they left behind, but the 12-hour time difference doesn’t help. Rey arrived expecting that his family would join him in 18 months, but he’s been waiting for 4 years. Edeta dreams of bringing her mother over as soon as she has enough money. Meanwhile, Kukai, the daughter of an absent migrant worker herself, marries an Inuit man as the two thrust themselves into each other’s different cultures, raising a daughter together. We’re not just restricted to the latest generation of migrants either, with animated and interpretive sections narrated by Epitacia Bruce - the first Filipino worker to arrive in Labrador, in 1966 - as she shares her wisdom and experience. Becoming Labrador is an emotional portrait of three families trying to make a better future for themselves. 

Language: English, Tagalog

Co-presented with Kwentong Bayan Collective.

WATCH THE trailer below:




Rohan Fernando’s first documentary, Cecil’s Journey, won Best Film at the Atlantic International Film Festival and was nominated for a Gemini Award. His other feature documentaries include Trudeau’s Other Children, Blood and Water, and The Chocolate Farmer, which had its world premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and enjoyed a highly successful festival run worldwide. Snow marked Fernando’s feature drama debut. It premiered at Cinequest and opened the 2011 Reelworld Film Festival. Fernando was most recently the creative producer for the NFB’s Space School with Canadian superstar astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield and now serves as a producer for the Quebec and Atlantic Studio.




Tamara Segura graduated with honours in film directing from the Instituto Superior de Arte in Cuba. Later she specialized in screenwriting at the International Film and Television School in San Antonio de los Baños, an acclaimed institution founded by Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez to help diversify the global cinematic landscape. Segura’s films have won awards in Spain, Costa Rica, Cuba, Canada, and Mexico. Based in Newfoundland since 2012, Segura was awarded the 2013 RBC Michelle Jackson award for emerging female filmmakers. Her second Canadian short film, Song for Cuba, was produced by the National Film Board of Canada. In 2016, Segura was invited to be a panellist at the Toronto International Film Festival’s Higher Learning program as part of a discussion about diasporic Cuban cinema.




One of the most prolific and acclaimed filmmakers in Eastern Canada, Justin Simms is especially focused on sharing the Newfoundland experience with a wide range of audiences. In 2009, Simms wrote and directed his debut feature film, Down to the Dirt,starring Joel Thomas Hynes, Robert Joy, and Hugh Dillon (distributed by Mongrel Media). In 2013, he directed his second feature, Hold Fast, starring Molly Parker (distributed by eOne Entertainment). For the National Film Board of Canada, Simms has directed the award-winning docudrama Hard Light, based on the stories of bestselling author Michael Crummey, and Danny, a feature doc about Newfoundland’s irascible former premier, Danny Williams. The film was nominated for the Donald Brittain award at the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards. 2016 will see the premiere of his third feature film, Away from Everywhere, starring Shawn Doyle and Jason Priestley (and recently selected for Telefilm’s Perspective Canada series at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival), as well as his sprawling six-episode anthology series, Sex in Cars.

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