Winner 2004

Human Cargo

Howe Sound Films and Force Four Entertainment Production, in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

This six-hour miniseries deals with one of the most pressing problems in today’s version of “the global village,” the movement of refugees throughout the world. The special focus is on attempts by refugees to enter Canada, but the six intertwined stories begin in remote regions and could end in almost any developed country, any city, any rural area. The stories are intensely humanized through the plights of individual characters. But systemic issues also emerge in the frustrations experienced in bureaucratic entanglements, individual prejudices, and physical and financial obstacles. Human Cargo emerged as far more than a television series dealing with a social problem. The program was screened by Toronto Mayor David Miller at City Hall, and the public debated the issues in meetings held in eleven cities. Universities and high schools developed special programs to engage students in discussion and analysis. Produced by Howe Sound Films and Force Four Entertainment in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Human Cargo was written by Brian McKeown and Linda Svendsen, directed by Brad Turner, with producers Svendsen, Debra Beard, and executive producers McKeown and Hugh Beard. Principle cast included Kate Nelligan, Bayo Akinfemi, Cara Pifko, Nicholas Campbell, Nthati Moshesh, Hakeem Kae Kazim, Leslie Hope, and Myriam Acharki. A Peabody Award goes to Human Cargo for exemplifying the increasingly rare instances in which fiction and reality merge, thereby broadening social and political discourse in the process.