Canada is home to many diverse communities of immigrants, often travelling the globe to settle here to make their way in the world. Often times, immigrants will come here alone, sending their earnings home to help support their families, money known as workers’ remittances.

 These international transfers can often represent the largest source of foreign income for many developing countries. In many cases only one member of the family is eligible to travel, and can be away from their relatives for years on end. 

Looking to highlight the work done by immigrant workers, the Filipino-Canadian Association Lethbridge Alberta will be holding a screening at Casa on April 29 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. titled “Francheska: Prairie Queen.”

The documentary follows Francis Yutrago, stage name Francheska Dynamites, who immigrated to Canada in 2010 from the Philippines. Yutrago has been working hard both in the drag community and labour market, working three jobs on top of winning the title of Miss Queen Philippines Canada in 2018. 

The documentary highlights the work immigrant workers do to help their families back home, while also showcasing the new connections they make when traveling to new places.

“The story is about my life of being a breadwinner, a foreign worker. A lot of people relate to this, they feel like their story is also being shared. I felt like my film raises a message to the audience, the community. As well as what it is like to be an LGBTQ+ person living in a conservative town,” said Yutrago. 

“There are so many foreign workers in Canada, and a lot of immigrants like the story because they can relate, they feel like they are being represented on the big screen.”

Premiering at the Calgary International Film Festival in September 2022, the Telus Original film is produced by Laura O’Grady. Since its premiere it has already won several awards, including the best audience award in Alberta, and best documentary feature film at the LGBTQA Toronto film festival. 

The Filipino-Canadian Association will be raising funds from the event to help support future events and projects for the non-profit. 

“Projects that relate to promoting racial and gender diversity, looking to educate people regarding the struggles of newcomers here in Canada, especially for people who are coming from the Philippines,” said Vic Visitacion, President of the Association. “People struggle when they are new to Canada because they have their families back home and they have to support them. Then they are also adjusting to life here in Canada and the film is a good story to share to help educate people regarding the struggles of newcomers here in Canada.”

Visitacion notes the event sold out within three weeks, showcasing the support within the community to help the non-profit. 

“We are so happy that there is overwhelming support from the community, not just from the Filipino community, but the whole of Lethbridge. We are so happy that people are able to support us,” said Visitacion. 

“For those people that weren’t able to get tickets, they can still attend and see us for the Meet and Greet at the red carpet at 4 until 5,” adds Yutrago. 

“I want to thank the community, their support is amazing.”

Looking to highlight the immigrant community in Lethbridge and the work they do to help support their loved ones back home, the event will bring awareness to the lifestyles of those coming to Canada for the first time. 

“The main goal is to let the Lethbridge community know that Filipinos have an important role in the community. We work in healthcare, we work the food industry, there are struggles that people are experiencing. Hopefully they will consider it in the future when they encounter new immigrants, helping promote acceptance in the community for immigrants,” said Visitacion. 

By Ryan Clarke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 28, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Lethbridge Herald    Lethbridge, Alberta

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