On October 1, 2013 the new documentary programme Red Star Line will be shown on Canvas. This series is an exciting and cinematic journey, based on archive material that has not been been broadcasted before, newly filmed scenes and beautiful animation sequences of the boat crossing. Between 1873 and 1934 about 2.5 million Europeans emigrated from Antwerp to the United States with the Belgian Red Star Line. This three-part series brings back to life the fascinating history of the company and its passengers through original testimonies of its passengers and their descendants.
The many crop failures, wars and religious conflicts forced many Europeans to leave their home country. All their hope was set on the new world. Many Eastern Europeans travelled on the Red Star Line, chasing their dream of a better life. This made Antwerp into the main passenger port in Europe during that time.
Together with the migrants we go back in time, looking for stories of dreams and nightmares, successes and disappointments. We see the predicament that forced them to leave, we relive the sometimes difficult journey to Antwerp, the unfamiliar city where travellers were forced to stay long before the crossing could begin. At the other side of the Atlantic, there was always the delirious joy at the sight of the Statue of Liberty. However, for many it was short-lived: before they could set foot on American soil there was the grim medical examination at Ellis Island in New York. This is how uncertain the beginning of a new life in an unknown world was, back then.
Red Star Line is more than a historical documentary: migration is of all times and the power and emotion from this historic migration stories, bring the history very much to life. With Red Star Line, we return to the past in an attempt to have a greater understanding of the present.
(Source: Autumn Programme Canvas )