Born 1948, Alberta
Linda Ohama is a filmmaker (producer and director) with an extensive history of integrating community, historical, and social justice initiatives in and around her films. She is also well known for her print, Watari Dori (A Bird of Passage), which was produced and sold in the 1980s to raise funds and awareness for the Redress campaign, and ultimately raised approximately 90% of the funds received by the campaign.
Ohama was born in Alberta and grew up on a family farm, and her connection to rural life and the prairies is evident in much of her work, particularly in her early films The Last Harvest, and Neighbours, Wild Horses and Cowboys. Ohama later moved to Vancouver, where she reconnected with her family’s roots in Steveston, undertaking the restoration of a Japanese-built fishing boat and the recreation of her grandmother’s prewar garden, the latter of which led to her film, Obaachan’s Garden.
She first visited Japan in 1998, inspiring her to become involved in promoting cultural exchange between Japan and Canada. In addition to working closely with Japanese artists, writers, and filmmakers on various projects, and other community work such as running free workshops on Canadian culture in Japan and establishing a sister school program between between Obu High School in Nagoya and Windsor Secondary School in North Vancouver, Ohama also made the film Tohoku no Shingetsu (New Moon over Tohoku), which follows survivors of the 3/11 Tohoku earthquake as they work to rebuild and recover.
Ohama started, organized and promoted the Kids for Kids cloth letter exchange between hundreds of students in Canada and Japan, inspiring cross understanding and support between youth following the Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima Disasters. The cloth letters were made up of thousands of individual letters from young people across Canada, Tohoku and Japan and exhibited at the the Canadian Embassy, Tokyo gallery in October-December 20 11.