Attendance at FTFS screenings has grown steadily. Litwin markets each film differently: “When we showed the film The Soviet Story about the crimes of the Soviet Union, we did a lot of marketing to the Ukrainian and Polish communities and over 325 people came out.”
Though ignored by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and routinely treated with disrespect by the Ottawa’s left-leaning free weekly, the FTFS gets good coverage from conservative media outlet CFRA.
The success of the film programs inspired Litwin to start bringing in speakers as well. I was honored to be the first; others have included Bat Ye’or and David Littman; in May, Litwin hosted Geert Wilders’s first appearance in Canada. In November of last year FTFS held its first film festival, featuring films about the 1940 Katyn massacre, surveillance in East Germany, the role of unions in US public schools, the Durban “racism” conferences, anti-Semitic propaganda in Palestinian schools, and much else. This November, the second annual festival will feature films about the Ukrainian famine, Judeophobia, the left-wing bias of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the fate of Jews in Libya, the need for DDT in Africa, English-language rights in Quebec, the failings of Canadian health care, honor killings in North America, Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution, and the Armenian genocide.
The organization’s biggest impact came last January, when Litwin planned a screening of Iranium, about Iran’s nuclear program. The Iranian embassy complained, and the Library & Archives canceled the screening. “I complained to the Minister of National Heritage and he got the film back on. Then the next day, there were threats at the Archives and the film was canceled again.” The cancellation made big news, and when the screening finally went ahead in February, the Library & Archives spent $15,000 on security. “The Canadian government even sent a diplomatic note to Iran about the affair.”
Ottawa is far from the only city in North America where worthy but politically incorrect films stand little or no chance of being screened, whether in ordinary cinemas or art houses. The story of FTFS shows how one determined person can change that, exposing his fellow citizens to vital ideas and information of which they might otherwise remain unaware. What a boon for North American democracy if every major city on the continent had its own FTFS.
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