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International Indian Film Academy Awards Press Conference

Archived Bulletin

International Indian Film Academy Awards Press Conference

Office of the Premier

You know, something I've learned in just a few moments of chat with Anil Kapoor and Preity Zinta: they're not only accomplished artists, they also care about kids.

And we're very proud that Big Brothers and Big Sisters has been chosen as the designated charity for the IIFA weekend. Thank you very much. Thank you.

I'm here today to talk about the IIFA weekend and what it means for Ontario.

June isn't that far away and fans are anxious to get their plans in order, so let me paint a picture of what it's going to be like.

In June, Toronto will be Bollywood central.

Not only are the 600,000 Ontarians with ties to India pumped, but so is everyone who loves a good story.

As the great American film director Frank Capra once said, "Film is one of three universal languages, the other two being math and music."

Which is why I believe a Bollywood musical about Brahmagupta would be the greatest movie in history.

Now, that's a joke designed to test your knowledge of Indian history -- Brahmagupta was alive some 1,500 years ago and he's considered to be the founder of modern mathematics and the inventor of the concept of zero.

I also believe that movies bring us together.

Movies give us a way to communicate across borders.

They help us understand who we are and show us that for all our differences, we're all so very much the same: we share the same hopes, the same fears, the same joys.

No matter where we come from, movies really do bring us together, and with hundreds of millions of people expected to watch IIFA on TV, that's a whole lot of togetherness.

Now, let me tell you what the award weekend means for Ontario specifically.

It will build on our growing economic and cultural ties with India.

It will solidify Toronto and Ontario as an international destination for tourism.

Not only will there many cultural celebrations for families across the GTA to enjoy, but we'll also have a global business forum for film producers and other businesses is also part of the plans.

It will provide great networking opportunities, a chance for Indian partners to find out more about our film and television production sector -- the third largest in North America.

Bollywood fans and businesses will all have something to cheer about.

I know that we're going to be putting our best foot forward during the IIFA weekend.

Ontario has years of experience when it comes to welcoming the world to our cultural events, and we know how to put on an unforgettable weekend.

For those of you who are familiar with Indian cinema, you will know that the Kapoors are really considered the first family of that industry, and right after the close of the IIFA weekend, for the following month, there's going to be a Raj Kapoor retrospective hosted by the Toronto International Film Festival and we're very pleased and honoured to be able to do that.

Because of the incredible diversity of our people, we here in Ontario and Canada, are reminded daily that what's most important about people is not the colour of our skin.

It's not the language we speak. It's not the culture we embrace, it's not the faith that we practice. It's not the traditions that we cherish. It's not the power that we wield. Nor is the wealth that we accumulate.

What is most important about people everywhere on this tiny planet that we share and call home together, is our common humanity. That's what connects us. That's why we can laugh, cry and sing together, whether in a movie theatre, our living rooms, or an international celebration of film.

We can't wait to welcome everyone to Toronto, Ontario.

We'll be doing what movies do best: bringing people together for an unforgettable experience.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for being here today.

I want to extend a special thank you to all who've applied their considerable efforts to ensuring that IIFA in Toronto in 2011 will be a wonderful success.

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