I am sure you’ve heard about the local Tamil movie "1999" that has been getting a lot of press both in the community and outside. It was selected to open the 2009 Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) and voted as one of the top 10 Canadian movies at the festival. Eye-opening and moving, the movie describes the immigrant experience through the eyes of three young Tamil men in the late 90s. Made with a shoestring budget and the sweat of volunteer cast and crew, the movie tells us about the challenges and opportunities immigrants face. VIFF calls it the future of Canadian film making.
The movie was opened with a series of special screenings yesterday in Toronto. I am disappointed to note that 1999 opened with a very dismal turnout. Both shows last night were virtually empty. If the trend continues today and tomorrow, we will have no choice but to pull the movie out. We planned these special screenings as a response to the numerous requests we had received from our fans in the first place. Despite a high profile opening at the VIFF, a successful premiere in Toronto, outstanding media coverage, excellent support from the business community and very positive feedback from the viewers, the movie hit a huge stumbling block at these screenings. This came as a shock to everyone who worked very hard to complete this movie. I think it is a problem that we need to solve. And we can solve it with your support. May be the expectation for local independent movies are set so low that people do not even bother. This is the sad reality our local film makers face. I think we need to change this reality. You can help by watching the movie, getting your families and friends out to watch the movie and by talking about this movie. The tickets are very affordable at $10. There are shows at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. tonight and tomorrow at the Woodside Cinemas (1571 Sandhurst Circle, Scarborough).
It is with the support and encouragement of people like you that we can one day build a vibrant film industry and an art community in Toronto, which will serve as a powerful voice for the entire community. Film is a richly complex, far-reaching art form with the power to promote awareness, affect change and, most importantly, get people to critically think about issues. Great films transcend language, culture, time and ideologies.
If you support this movie, more artists will come forward to tell more of our unique stories. The stories that have gone untold for a long time. And this may pave the way to the creation of our own film industry. Now that is worth supporting. Thank you for forwarding this note to your circle of family and friends urging them to support 1999.
Lenin M. Sivam
Director of 1999