A Passion project
Filmmaker Ryan Boyko, who grew up in a Ukrainian family in Saskatchewan, said he was never taught about the internment.
He learnt about it after seeing a film depicting the internment with his father when he was in high school.
He remembers going to his grade 10 teacher asking for more information and being told there was no such thing.
Ryan Boyko is an actor and filmmaker based out of Toronto. Image courtesy of Ryan Boyko
Upon hearing that, Boyko focused his time on gathering all the information he could to learn more on the topic.
Boyko became passionate about the topic and used his filmmaking skills to create his web series called, The Camps. His filmmaking projects are just one example of Bill C-331 and the endowment fund.
“I was asked if I would be open to going to all of these former internment camps and basically filming what was left. And I said, well that wouldn't be interesting and nobody would want to watch it."
“But if I could walk across the country and create a web series where I'm talking to various different people about the camp, about the history of the camp and tell a complete story of each camp… that would be of interest to me.”
So, Boyko created a pilot episode.
Boyko created his web series, and decided the story was not finished yet, there was more to tell.
He then went to work on creating That Never Happened a documentary film project.
That Never Happened was shown in Calgary on October 23 at the Globe Theatre.
Photo by Curtis Larson.
This film is a combination of The Camps web series and new interviews that Boyko conducted to portray the impact of internment and why it is still relevant today.
Boyko said he wanted to create a film that educated viewers on the injustices of the camps but also explored what happened to the women and children who were left behind.
“If we don't look at things that we've done before we are destined to repeat them. And you know that's something that almost every person that I interviewed said 'you know we have to learn from our past',” said Boyko.
In September of 2018 Boyko flew to Geneva Switzerland to show the film to the United Nations. His was one of two Canadian films that have ever been showcased at the UN.
"It was a surreal experience being at the U.N.," said Boyko.
After showing the film Boyko said there were more questions than organizers were expecting and he had officials coming up to him afterwards asking what their countries could do to bring awarness to human rights issues.
While he was making the film Boyko said he encountered many people asking why he was even bothering to create the documentary because this would never happen again.
"We've seen that in a couple of places around the world including in the United States internment camps — or a version of something similar to an internment camp — have taken hold of the media," said Boyko.
"They are things that we are seeing again right as this film came out."
He said the idea that this could never happen again shows how important it is to remember history both the good and the bad and that Canadians have a responsibility to ensure that it really doesn't happen again.
Guests of both Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian heritage crowded the Globe Theater in Calgary at the end of October. Photo by Curtis Larson
Boyko showed his film in Calgary on October 23 at the Globe Theatre and sold out his 7 p.m. show with line-ups around the block This was the second showing of his cross-Canada tour.
The documentary is available for purchase through platforms such as iTunes and Google Play and he is currently working towards incorporating the historical information into school curriculum.
Ryan Boyko chatted with the Calgary Journal after the first showing of his film That Never Happened. Video by Curtis Larson
Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party of Alberta, was integral in providing access for the documentary during his time as a Minister in the Harper government. Kenney applauds the film and what can be achieved recovering these memories. Video by Curtis Larson