News / Vancouver

B.C. helps fund feature film about Komagata Maru incident

Province gives Knowledge Network $2 million to help fund Lions of the Sea, a film and four-part miniseries based on the 1914 event.

The Komagata Maru memorial at Vancouver's Coal Harbour.

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro File

The Komagata Maru memorial at Vancouver's Coal Harbour.

B.C. is providing $2 million to the Knowledge Network to fund a feature film and miniseries about an ugly chapter in the province’s history.

Lions of the Sea is a feature film and four-part miniseries based on the tragic 1914 Komagata Maru incident. The film will chronicle the story of the 376 Indian passengers who sailed into Coal Harbour only to be denied entry. After two months, the vessel was forced to return to India, where 19 of the passengers were killed.

The film and miniseries is being produced by First Take Entertainment Ltd. Production will begin this year. The budget is estimated between $16 and $19 million.

“The Komagata Maru incident is a dark chapter in our history that reflects racial discrimination and policies of the time,” Amrik Virk, B.C.’s technology minister, said in a release.

“Through education and awareness, we honour our multicultural fabric and values and vow to never make the same mistake again.”

The Knowledge Network will broadcast the film and miniseries on its television channel and stream them on its website and app. Screenings will also be held at community centres, libraries and schools.

A formal apology about the incident was made in the Legislature in 2008. In 2012, a Komagata Maru memorial was unveiled in Coal Harbour.

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