Brooks – The City of 100 Hellos explores how immigrants, refugees and temporary foreign workers from the local meat packing plant are changing and challenging the western cowboy city of Brooks, Alberta in Canada.
The documentary Brooks – The City of 100 Hellos by Canadian filmmaker Brandy Yanchyk gives us a rare glimpse into the lives of many of the new immigrants, refugees and temporary foreign workers that have moved to Brooks, Alberta, Canada. It also explores the challenges they face and looks at how long-time residents of Brooks feel about the new immigration in their community.
The documentary is set in Brooks, Alberta, a western Canadian city known for its farming, cowboys and oil patch workers. About 10 years ago the local meat packing plant, XL Foods Lakeside Packers Inc., starting bringing over and employing about 2,000 workers from across the world; some temporary foreign workers, others new immigrants and refugees in Canada.
Many don’t speak English and have come to Brooks to make about $14 an hour, paying for their lives here in the city but also supporting their families back home.
The new immigrants have physically changed this traditional cattle ranching city. Schools teaching English as a second language have been popping up across town as well as different multicultural churches, a mosque and ethnic stores. It is now believed that over 100 languages are spoken in Brooks.
“Brooks is unique,” says Brooks Mayor Martin Shields. “It was basically 14,000 in population who changed in 10 years from basically one culture, one language to representing as many as 60 to 70 different countries with many languages and dialects.”