Letter from the Free Thinking Film Society
Dear Free Thinking Film Society Supporter:
I want to express my extreme disappointment that Iranium was not shown in Ottawa this week. We are committed to ensuring this film is shown in the capital of Canada - and that our cultural policies are not dictated by the Khomeinist thugs of Iran.
So, I am happy to announce that Iranium will now be shown on Sunday, February 6th at 7:00 PM at the Library and Archives Canada. Clare Lopez will also be flying in to talk at the event. Tickets are $15.00 (Students/Seniors - $8.00) and will be available, in advance, at the following locations:
Compact Music, 785 1/2 Bank Street
Compact Music, 190 Bank Street
Ottawa Folklore Centre, 1111 Bank Street
Ottawa Festivals, 47 William Street
Tickets will also be available at the door, but to ensure you get a seat, please buy your ticket in advance.
Tickets are also available on line (click here)
What really happened this week
On Monday, January 17th at 2 PM, I was informed by staff of the Library & Archives Canada (LAC) that they had received 'complaints' about Iranium and had decided to cancel the film. They offered to find an alternate venue.
I then phoned the office of the Minister of National Heritage (James Moore) to complain about the cancellation. I also sent an e-mail through the official website.
The LAC then offered to move the film to the Museum of Nature, but for a substantial fee. I really couldn't understand why the film could be shown in one building, but not the other. I told the LAC that if it had to be moved, they would have to pick up the costs.
After conferring with our Board of Directors, we decided that it was way too late to move the film, and that we should hold our ground and insist that the film be shown at the LAC. At 6:30 PM on Monday night, I received a call informing me that the film was now back on at the LAC.
On Tuesday morning, January 18th, I was informed that the complaints had indeed come from the Iranian Embassy! At 4 PM, I received a call from a senior manager at the LAC that there were protestors inside and outside the building; that they had called the RCMP; who had then informed them that security could not be assured; and that they had no choice but to cancel the film.
I immediately got into my car and drove to the Archives, arriving about 4:50 PM. The building had been closed and employees were leaving the building. Few people knew what was happening - and I didn't see any protesters anywhere. I was then informed that there were no protests - just the 'threat of protests.'
The police then arrived and the fire department arrived. I conducted a few interviews and left with Clare Lopez for my home. After we left, the hazardous materials team arrived - apparently because of two envelopes left at the front desk - but that occurred after the building had been closed down.
So, there you have it. We still need some answers! What event on Iranian culture was cancelled by the Archives in December of 2010 and why? Why did the Archives cancel so fast on Monday? Why would anybody care if the Iranian Embassy was unhappy? Were there actually threats on Tuesday? From whom? Was there just the 'threat of protest'? Why can't people protest a film? And, why couldn't the building be secured?
And, finally, why can the building now be secure on February 6th for the 'new' screening?
I applaud the Minister of National Heritage, James Moore, for his determination in standing up for freedom of speech - but it should never have had to go to his office.
I want to thank the hundreds of people who have called or e-mailed with their support for the Free Thinking Film Society and what we are doing. In particular, I have received many e-mails from Iranian-Canadians who thought they, and their families, had left the Khomeinist regime behind, and are outraged to see Khomeinist influence right here in the capital of Canada.
I want to thank the Board Members of the Free Thinking Film Society who have stepped up to the plate to help out the last three hectic days.
Iranium will now show on Sunday, February 6th at 7 PM at the Library & Archives Canada (395 Wellington). Admission is $15.00 ($8.00 for students/seniors). Clare Lopez will be speaking at the event. Reception to follow Q&A.
Free Thinking Film Society
February 6, 2011
Library and Archives Canada
Since the inception of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has displayed an absolute hatred for the West. Coupled with an extremist ideology, this regime has terrorized the world at large for over 30 years. This 70-minute film will explore the principles of the revolution, and visually demonstrate the hatred and violence exhibited by Iran’s brutal leadership. The film will document the regime’s abusive treatment of their once proud citizenry, and will chronicle the regime’s use of terror proxies abroad to inflict deadly messages on their self-described enemies. Please join us for this film, and a speaker..and reception to follow at about 9:00 PM
Admission: $15 (includes HST), $8.00 for students/ seniors
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