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Saturday, September 26, 2009

சர்வதேசத் திரைப்படவிழாவுக்குப் போகும் தமிழரின் படம்

இதைப்படியுங்க விரைவில் தமிழில் எழுதுகிறேன்..

New film to put spotlight on Tamil gang violence
Scarborough story will open at Vancouver Film Festival

New film to put spotlight on Tamil gang violence. Thelepan Somasegaram, left, and Deva Gasperson appear in the Tamil anti-violence film, '1999'. Courtesy photo One December night in 1997, four hooded men fired guns into Cross Country Donuts at Bridletowne Circle and Finch Avenue East. They fled, not caring they had just killed Kapilan Palasanthiran, 19, an aspiring scientist never in trouble with the law.
The murder of Palasanthiran - one of several innocents killed by chance during the years the VVT and AK Kannans fought in Scarborough's streets - was not recreated for 1999, Lenin M. Sivam's film drama about Tamil youth gangs, but Sivam remembers Palasanthiran's funeral as a turning point.

"He was such a bright student and didn't know these things were happening. The issue was bothering people," said the director, whose first full-length feature will be shown at next month's Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) and then premiere in Toronto at Scotiabank Cineplex Theatre on Oct. 22.

Like Palasanthiran, Sivam was attending the University of Waterloo in 1997, but the filmmaker says he is more aware of the war between the gangs and the dangers that went with it.

"There were places I knew I shouldn't be at on a Friday night. Being Tamil, you don't want to be there."

But years after arrests and changes of heart removed gang leadership, there were questions Sivam wanted answered about who the gang members were and how the violence happened.

Over a year, he met and interviewed youth workers and a number of ex-gangsters, none of whom, Sivam said, were still engaged in crime. "They are all out of it. They have little kids. They admit how stupid and foolish they were," he said.

"They really think through my movie they will bring an awareness, so these things will not happen again."

Those interviews formed 1999's main characters: the underachiever Anpu, Kumar the gang leader and Ahilan, a straight-arrow university student.

"These characters did exist. You could have found one," Sivam said. "The way they talk, what they do on a Saturday morning, why do they fight, how do they get involved (in a gang), how do they get out of it. These were stories that I got from the real people."

1999 is not a Hollywood treatment of gangs. Its stories are of immigrants from a Sri Lanka torn by years of bloody conflict, youths who in Canada lack the support they got from extended families back home. They are caught between opposing cultures - one at home, the other at school.

"They tend to pick the bad things from both cultures," Sivam explained. "Gangs give them a purpose and a sense of belonging."

Though this summer fights between young Tamils have again resulted in deaths in Scarborough, trouble on the streets now is "totally different" and "not as organized as back then," said Sivam.

"Right now, it's guys hanging in the park or the mall and claiming it's their territory. These guys have no idea how to get a gun."

Making the film took investments and volunteer work from more than 100 people, mainly young family members and friends, willing to work 14 to 16-hour days over a dozen weekends in Scarborough, said executive producer Sebesan Jeyarajasingam, who had production equipment from a past project when he met Sivam a few years ago.

"We want to make this a full-time job," Jeyarajasingam said.

Sivam said the crew had to be particularly creative to "achieve a million-dollar shot with almost nothing" as his idol, the director Robert Rodrigues, did (as every aspiring independent filmmaker knows) when making El Mariachi for $7,000.

His father V.M.L. Sivam was a filmmaker too, assistant director in one of Sri Lanka's first Tamil-language films, then (under the screen name Jeyakanth) playing the male lead in another, Meenavapenn.

After working as a computer programmer and computer architect, Sivam realized he wanted to take on "touchy subjects." His short film Uruthy (Strength) in 2007 is about the stigma attached to mental illness in a culture where people believe "men should be macho and not cry."

Sivam said he had a cousin who killed himself. "He was suffering from depression and didn't know what he was going through."

The subject of 1990s gang violence may also offend some members of the Tamil community - groups such as the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre have worked to wipe the "gangs" association away and prove Tamil youth deserve a positive image - but Sivam said issues from those years must be faced.

"This is going to be our home for generations. It is important to look at our past. We should take this movie as a positive. We had a problem and we solved it," he said.

The Canadian Tamil Congress apparently agrees. It called 1999 "a rare and powerful story" and said the VIFF selection is a milestone for Tamil Canadians, the first time a film made by members of the community will be shown at an international festival.

1999, a Khatpanalaya Production, will open the festival's Canada Images Program on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15.

The soundtrack, featuring Lyrically Strapped and S.P. Balasubramaniyam, will be launched Oct. 1 at 3330 Pharmacy Ave. in a free event starting at 6:30 p.m.

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