A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
Episodes Search Site Map The Series Partners White Pine White Pine Home

Má vlast (My Homeland): The Jiraneks In Canada

Director: Martin Duckworth

About the Film
Martin Duckworth's The Furthest Possible Place pays homage to the dynamic spirit of a modern Bolivian political refugee living in Montreal. Ana Maria Seifert was only 6 years old when her businessman father was put on the wanted list by Bolivia's new political regime and forced underground. Years later, Ana Maria went to medical school and was inspired by Maurice Lefebvre, an Oblate missionary from Quebec, who headed the sociology department at the University of LaPaz. In 1971, Lefebvre was killed in a bloody coup d'etat and many students were imprisoned, including Ana Maria. She was released in 1973 on condition that she go to "the furthest possible place." She headed to Montreal, joining the thousands of other Latin Americans looking for safety in that province during the 1970s.

While scratching out a living through menial work and raising a family in Quebec, Ana Maria studied biology at night. Finally graduating, she became a researcher in industrial health and a determined advocate for the work safety of low-wage earners, particularly other immigrant women.

Filmmaker Martin Duckworth aims his camera at the heart of this modern refugee experience, celebrating the warmth of friendship, commitment to family and the lingering pain of social dislocation. Juxtaposing footage of Bolivia's coup with life in Montreal, we glimpse the shocking reasons behind political exile, and the courage and determination that one woman brings to making her new home a better place for all.

Top of page.