“25 NEW FACE” IAN HARNARINE PROFILED BY NEW YORK TIMES
Last week, the New York Times published a profile on writer/director (and also nuclear physicist) Ian Harnarine, who is a member of our 2012 “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” The article details Harnarine’s interesting backstory — he is a Trinidadian Canadian, an NYU professor who teaches both film and nuclear physics, a Spike Lee acolyte — but is maybe most interesting in its description of the difficulties the director of the award-winning short Doubles with Slight Pepper had in connecting with an audience and the Indo-Carribbean community in his adopted home city.
[F]or all the accolades the film has received, Mr. Harnarine has had a difficult time finding a receptive audience in New York, landing screenings in relatively modest venues and minor festivals and failing to stoke any significant interest among the city’s large Indo-Caribbean community.
“It being a short film is already pretty difficult because you know it’s not going to play at the multiplex,’’ Mr. Harnarine said. “But I was expecting a bit more support from the community.’’
Short features tend to have a hard time drawing a popular audience, Mr. Harnarine noted, and many immigrants from Trinidad and other West Indian countries favor Bollywood productions with English subtitles.
Indo-Caribbean Alliance, a nonprofit group in Queens, said it planned on screening Mr. Harnarine’s film at the Lefferts branch of the Queens Borough Public Library.
To raise money for the film, Mr. Harnarine started a campaign on Kickstarter, a Web site through which people can donate money to projects. He also went to Indo-Caribbean stores in Queens.
“We literally went from the end of the A train in the hub of the West Indian-Guyanese community there and we just put up posters, went into every single store,’’ he said. “And mostly we were met with indifference and people that didn’t really get it, like some people thought that the title of the film, they didn’t believe that we were making a film, we were trying to steal his customers and strange things like that.”
In the end, Mr. Harnarine invested about $4,000 of his own money to make the film, which cost around $17,000.
Mr. Harnarine hopes to adapt Doubles With Slight Pepper into a feature-length film, but for now, he says his main goal is to promote the film.
“I think my generation, the first generation or the children of immigrants whether like in North America or of the diaspora, I think a lot of them are like me and they’re like, ‘Oh, well how come there’s no movies or TV shows with people like us in them?’’’ he said. “So I think there is a need.”