For Amy Newman, designing costumes for the Nam Sing Packing Expedition Historic Recreation gave her a chance to draw on her own personal and family experiences of being a new arrival in an ancient landscape. Now Newman’s work has been recognized by the Los Angeles Film Awards (LAFA).
Newman won Best Costume Design for the video “Nam Sing: A Man for Gold Country,” which documented the historic recreation staged in Barkerville in 2019 and was produced by Winter Quarter Productions and the New Pathways to Gold Society (NPTGS).
“Being costume designer of the Nam Sing recreation and film is a big deal to me – I understand what it means to be an immigrant in a strange, new land,” says Newman, who also helped film the event.
“I came to Canada from the U.S. My great-grandfather came from Scotland, my great-great-great grandmother came across the plains in a covered wagon. As we have searched the world over for opportunities, so did Nam Sing,”
LAFA is a monthly competition for filmmakers and screenwriters from all over the world. It promotes films and awards the best in each category each month. Newman recreated the look and feel of the mid-19th Century, the period the recreation was set in, with gorgeous costuming for the principles and many extras, including members of the Backcountry Horsemen.
In addition to LAFA, the Nam Sing documentary is a finalist for Best Documentary and Best Costume design in the Indie Short Fest and a semi-finalist in the Top Shorts Festival. It’s also an official entry at the Archaeology Channel International Film Festival, where it will be available for viewing.
“Film festivals acceptance and awards, the posts, the web site embedding and social media contacts bring the film and the stories to a wider audience, which is what the films are really about,” says Director Richard Wright of Winter Quarter Productions.
“This is particularly valuable in the case of Nam Sing, which is an iconic story of the multicultural narrative of our province.”
Wright credits the film crew, cast and support team that helped put the entire event and film together for producing an award-winning production. And he thanked NPTGS for its support and staging the recreation.
“The historical films we produce through NPTGS and the Bonepicker Project tell stories that are for the most part not otherwise being investigated or told. Festival awards help move those goals forward,” says Wright.
Nam Sing came to B.C. from China in 1858. He worked as a miner near Yale before heading for the Cariboo to run a pack train between Quesnel and Barkerville. His multicultural crews delivered produce and other goods to the miners, merchants, gamblers and dreamers in Barkerville, capital of the Cariboo Gold Rush.
NPTGS Indigenous Co-Chair Cheryl Chapman says it’s great to see Newman’s work rewarded and Nam Sing’s story celebrated — especially his connection with B.C.’s Indigenous Peoples.
“Nam Sing employed First Nations, Kanakan, Mexican and other workers during the Gold Rush and afterwards,” said Chapman.
“His narrative exemplifies the ‘Cedar-Bamboo’ relationship between the early Chinese newcomers and Indigenous Peoples that played an important role in the development of early modern British Columbia.”
To view “Nam Sing: A Man for Gold Country” please visit https://vimeo.com/378387634.
NPTGS is a non-profit organization committed to developing local economies in the Hope to Barkerville corridor through heritage tourism development, Indigenous reconciliation and Multiculturalism. For more information, please visit the NPTGS website. NPTGS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.