Montreal Mosaic (Vivre tous ensemble) is a French-language documentary series produced for Savoir media with the financial participation of the Bell Fund as well as with the collaboration of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Montreal Studies (CRIEM).
Through the perspective of people recently settled in Quebec, the series looks at the immigrant experience, looking at both its good sides and its challenges.
Montreal Mosaic is back for a second season! This year, the series has widened its scope by visiting different regions of Quebec, where we meet immigrants from all walks of life, including the families of political refugees. You will meet Simat, a young Iraqi woman who, after overcoming the generational conflicts that sometimes tear apart immigrant families, has managed to flourish in her new life in Quebec thanks to her passion for sports. You will get to know Alnaser-Al Salman’s Syrian family, who fled the civil war and found security and a valuable social safety net with the help of immigration sponsors in Gatineau. You will also meet Anderson, a Congolese university student who aspires to build a library to help educate children in the refugee camp where his family remains stranded. Thanks to the stories of these inspiring immigrants told against the colourful backdrop of the province’s cities, this new version of Montreal Mosaic is once again a bittersweet, always authentic foray into the heart of the immigrant experience!
Watch Montreal Mosaic on
episodes 1 to 12 of Montreal Mosaic
The Congo with Anderson Muyuya
Anderson Muyuya is a political science student at Université Laval who aspires to work for the United Nations. Surrounded by friends and colleagues who adore him, he is a model of success. The young Congolese man has, however, come a long way. Born in Kinshasa, he wound up in a refugee camp with his family, where he witnessed unspeakable atrocities. This episode unravels the differences between Congolese and Quebec culture and highlights the economic significance of the Congolese diaspora. Above all, it introduces us to Anderson, a gentle giant. His dream is to build a library to help educate children in the refugee camp where his family remains stranded.
Mexico with Karla Meza
Karla Meza moved to Quebec in her early 20s. She gave birth to her son here and later welcomed her mother who, to Karla’s great delight, decided to join her despite a comfortable life in Mexico. After living in Quebec for a number of years, an accident prompted Karla to make a switch from her job in administration to a career in journalism, which finally enabled her to quench her thirst for justice. This episode showcases the many different faces of Mexican culture and highlights the situation of seasonal agricultural workers, many of whom are Mexican and the subject of Karla’s next documentary film. You will also get to know Karla, now both a journalist and filmmaker and a woman of heart and intellect who tries to consolidate her Québécoise and Mexican identities, with the latter coming to the fore as the years pass.
Russia with Alena Baryshnikova
Born in Russia and married to a Quebecer, Alena Barychnikova has lived in Quebec for several years with her two children. Alena is a sweet and bubbly woman, who worked in television when she lived in Russia. But she had to reorient herself entirely when she moved to Quebec, starting with the need to learn French, a language that was entirely new to her. She is currently studying communications and proudly aids in the COVID-19 vaccination program. The episode takes us on a journey through Montreal and its suburbs, including Snowdon, once a Russian neighbourhood, and the Gramota School, the Russian diaspora’s oldest educational institution. Throughout, it highlights the different worldviews of Russians and Quebecers.
The United States with David Shelton
Born to an African-American father and an Irish-American mother, David Shelton spent his childhood socializing with the various women travellers that his family hosted. This gave birth to a passion not only for travel but for languages. He fell in love with Montreal during a trip and decided to pursue a career as a firefighter here, becoming the first Black firefighter hired by the city. Through this activist man who is respected by his peers, the episode introduces us to the Centre des Canadiens afro-descendants, an organization that works to improve the African-descendant community’s position in society. The episode also takes us into the heart of Little Burgundy, once known as the Harlem of the North, where we hear some of the jazz music that livens up the whole city. Montreal is presented as the crossroads of culture and an “artistic El Dorado.”
Madagascar with Mirindra Makoto
Mirindra Rakotomalala first set foot in Quebec City in 2012, after leaving Madagascar in search of a better life. Today, she lives in Montreal, and the city’s multiculturalism allows her, in a sense, to travel every day. She is a musician who has developed a special bond with Quebec thanks to music and the members of her different bands. Through Mirindra’s eyes, this episode introduces us to Malagasy immigrants who are often highly educated and live mainly in the province of Quebec. The episode also explores the differences between local workplaces and those of the African island. Finally, we get to know Mirindra, a great traveller who thrives in her work and her music and who is dedicated to her new friendships with Quebecers.
Benin with Yvon Soglo
Yvon Soglo, also known as Crazy Smooth, is a street dance artist living in Gatineau. Since coming to Canada as a refugee, he has tried to integrate himself while holding onto his Beninese identity and facing racism and culture shock. Now well-established, the charismatic man is a proud Canadian descendant of the Soglos, a founding family of Benin whose origins date back to the 1600s. This episode introduces us to Fon, a language still spoken in Benin, and attempts to unravel the mystery of gris-gris and voodoo. Above all, we get to know Yvon, an inspiring young man who, as his artist’s name suggests, is both energetic and poised.
India with Praful and Amita Manek
Amita and Praful Manek are a couple who live in Quebec City and have owned and run a convenience store, Dépanneur Provisions Ste-Odile, since 1983. They got married in India after only knowing each other for a few days! They have been together for almost 40 years, and after many busy days dedicated to running their business and raising their three children, Amita and Praful want to spend the next few years travelling. They notably wish to visit “the Indies,” as they like to say. This episode follows the happy couple closely, presenting the context of Indian immigration, the caste system, and the often vastly different professional and personal lives of Indians.
Greece with Tassia Trifiatis
Tassia Trifiatis-Tezgel was born in Quebec to a Greek father and a mother with a passion for mythology. She is a novelist who has visited Greece many times and speaks her father’s language fluently. Echoes of the Greek Republic can be found throughout her novels. Tassia has, nonetheless, found out the hard way that identifying as Greek and being accepted by the community can sometimes be complex and delicate, even laborious. This episode highlights the importance of the Orthodox Church to Greeks living in Quebec and in Greece. It also presents the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal, which promotes Greek identity, culture, and values to young people. Finally, we get to know Tassia, a very eloquent Greek-Quebecer.
Brazil with Filipe Barbosa
Filipe Barbosa’s desire to learn French is what first prompted him to move to Quebec. He then got taken in by the local culture and fell in love with Montreal. This sociable young man radiates joy and is one of 8,000 Brazilians living in the province, half of them in Montreal. Some of his compatriots left their native land due to the country’s ongoing political and economic hardships. Others came in search of a different life, making up what is referred to as Brazilian “lifestyle” immigration. This episode gives us a taste of Brazil by showcasing its pastries and characteristic dance, the samba. The audience is also introduced to Filipe, a young gay man who found a true home in Montreal, where he has been able to thrive and has found friends who celebrate him.
Iraq with Simat Atshan
Simat Atshan immigrated to Quebec with her family about a dozen years ago. Even though she arrived in the middle of winter, her first impression of the province was not its extreme cold but rather its beauty and calm. Going through puberty at the time, her integration into Quebec society was marked by conflict with her mother. Simat was adamant that, although she was Iraqi, she needed to embrace her new Canadian life. Both received individual support during this tumultuous time, and today, mother and daughter live in harmony. This episode introduces us to the Sabaean religion, a belief system older than both Islam and Christianity. We also learn about the intergenerational conflicts that sometimes tear immigrant families apart. Finally, we get to know Simat, a young Iraqi woman who has managed to flourish in Quebec through a passion for sports and to open up thanks, among other things, to the social workers at Centre Louis-Jolliet. She has become a role model for young immigrants in Quebec.
Angola with Luciano Sunda
Luciano Sunda is Angolan and lives in Saint-Hyacinthe. Over the course of the winding road that took him from Angola to Quebec, fate led him to his wife, Nathalie Florence, a Cameroonian woman he met while waiting for a connecting flight. Because of the language barrier (Portuguese is the primary language of Angola), most Angolan immigrants prefer to settle in Canada’s anglophone provinces. Nonetheless, the serene and welcoming nature of Saint-Hyacinthe convinced Luciano and his family to move there. Luciano sings its praises to every immigrant he meets! This episode introduces us to the community work undertaken by the Maison de la famille des Maskoutains. We also learn about the Portuguese colonization of Angola and the Angolan War of Independence, a precursor to the decolonization of Africa. Finally, we get to meet Luciano, a family man who is as present for his own family as he is for the members of his community.
Syria with Waleed and Zhour Alnaser
The wars that broke out in Syria in 2011 forced the family of Zhour Alnaser, Waleed Al Salman, and their three young boys to flee the country against their will. Although they were beset by great misfortune, their luck changed when several Quebecers decided to become their immigration sponsors, which allowed them to settle safely in Canada and gave them a vital safety set. This episode explores the process of francization, a necessary step for successful integration into Quebec society. It also presents the difficulties of rebuilding one’s life in a foreign land and the suffering experienced by refugees who are often forced to leave loved ones behind. Finally, we learn about the Alsaner-Al Salman family, a symbol of resilience and hope, who welcomed their newest member to Canadian soil a few months after their arrival.
12 x 15 mn
Number of seasons
Number of episodes
Jean Roy, Feven Ghebremariam, Carmen Rachiteanu, Sofiane Belaïd
France Choquette, Jean Roy
Simat Atshan, Amita et Praful Manek, David Shelton, Alena Baryshnikova, Mirindra Rakoto, Tassia Trifiatis-Tezgel, Filipe Barbosa, Yvon Soglo, Luciano Senga, Karla Meza, Waleed Al Salman et Zhour Al Naser, Anderson Muyuya
Directors of photography
Sofiane Belaïd, Nicolas Venne
Anik Poirier and Isabelle Corriveau
Christian Carrière, René Fleurant,
Online Editor and Colourist
Michel Marier (M2 Studio)