SikhLens: Sikh Art and Film Festival

We have previously written about SikhLens, an art and film festival which brings together Sikh filmmakers, authors, artists and actors. For those of you who support thedevelopment of Sikh arts, you will bepleased to know thatthesecond annual Sikh Art and Film Festival (SAFF) will be held from November 19th-21st, 2010 at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange, CA. SAFF provides a venue for artists to present their Sikh-centric films, art, and music to the broader community with the intent of showcasing their talents and generating increased Sikh awareness.

main_photo.jpgThe Festival begins Friday, November 19th with a red-carpet Opening Night starting at 7:30 pm. A youth-focused cluster will start off the Saturday events. This cluster focuses on films and live book readings intended to incite interest and inspire youth, while teaching about Sikh history. The focus then turns to creative Sikhs in the Visual, Audio and Entertainment Industries. Hear their stories, watch and listen to their craft, and interact with and support Sikhs breaking ground in these unique areas. Also introducing for the first time an interactive segment on “Introduction to Film-making,”to demystify the film-making process. Rounding out the days events are a series of short films featuring a wide variety of genres, an eclectic mix of filmmakers, and a unique blend of topics, including special selections from the SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival.Sundays events start with an international flavor, with an emphasis on Sikh films and artists from all over the world. The concluding cluster of the festival will touch upon Social Issues within the Sikh Diaspora. This segment is aimed to bring upon a meaningful and insightful look into the surroundings of the Sikh Community today.

I am especially interested in this final cluster which brings together films addressing the social issues that inflict our community.We havespoken many times on this blog about how media and film are critical to dialoguing aboutimportant issues.

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Help UNITED SIKHS Win!

Seems to be a rather slow week for me and the fellow langa(w)riters. Maybe we’re at #occupywallstreet, or preparing for Fauja Singh’s appearance at SikhLens this weekend in Los Angeles, or who knows what else we’re doing. Still one thing we all made sure to do is vote for United Sikhs in the Chase Community Giving. As of my posting, they are currently #2. Can’t help but think that the competition has gotten considerably less over the last few years as the money has increased. Other Sikh orgs (read: ENSAAF), where you at!!

Regardless, vote NOW. You have to “like” Chase Community Giving. Many of you probably already have done it from the Jakara Movement’s win back in 2009. So now just go back and keep on voting. Let’s help push United Sikhs to the win. VOTE NOW! The competition ends on November 22, 2011. Let’s push United Sikhs to first place!

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Attention Sikh Art and Film Enthusiasts!!

Its that time of year again!

For those Southern California natives, you (hopefully) know it rolls around once every year. This year, SikhLens is proud to announce its annual Sikh Arts and Film Festival to be held November 18th 20th, 2011 at the prestigious Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange, California. As avid supporters of Sikh Arts, and creativity in general, I am hoping our readers would be especially interested in this event coming up in the next couple of weeks.

The Sikh Arts and Film Festival serves as a central venue for artists to showcase and share Sikh heritage and culturethrough the mediums of film, literature, art, music, social media and fashion. As an often-misidentified minority, this type of forum has proven to be essential for Sikhs to transcend cultural boundaries, generate awareness, and connect with the broader community.

This year at the festival, SikhLens has a variety of programmingranging from literary works, films, live artist performances and much more. Special guests include the inspirational Sardar Fauja Singh ji, comedian Jus Reign, the versatile actors Guru Singh and Agam Darshi, rap artist Mandeep Sethi and many more. The festival will be offering a great opportunity for attendees to interact, engage, and dialogue with the featured artists. It is a very special treat to see the guest of honor being Sardar Fauja Singh Ji, an amazing inspiration to all generations of Sikhs, and many non-Sikhs alike.You do not want to miss the opportunity to meet and interact with them! SikhLens is also proud to announce that the highly anticipated and critically acclaimed film Breakaway (also known as Speedy Singhs) will premiere for the first time ever in the United States! The film takes place in Toronto, Canada and is a combination of Hollywood-meets-Bollywood actors.

For tickets, scheduling and more information, visit www.sikhlens.com.


Fauja Singh – 100 years and runnin’

With Bhangras and Jakaras – our very own beloved Fauja Singh crossed the finish line to be the first 100 year old to complete a marathon – thus also setting a world record. Running in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, he may have been last in the pack – but he finished first in the hearts of all. Many of us were following our Torontonian brothers and sisters live tweet as #faujasingh as it began trending in Toronto and through all of Canada.

Here he is crossing the finishing line!

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Will the centenarian hang up his Adidas shoes now that he has set this record? HARDLY! Next up – for us Californians, we get the chance to meet him at the upcoming SikhLens Film Festival in Southern California from November 18-20, 2011. Then back to the world stage for Fauja Singh as he will be part of the torchbearer relay for the 2012 London Olympics. Keep on running Fauja! #faujafever


Supporting Sikh Arts

Last weekend I attended the Sikh Lens Sikh Art and Film Festival in Hollywood. I have attended film festivals all over North America and strongly believe in their need and presence in our community. Many times, however, the events get overshadowed by the glitz and glamour the red carpet, the photographers, the eccentric outfits I was therefore grateful that my experience at the Sikh Arts and Film Festival was a fulfilling one I left knowing that Sikh Arts and Films bring value to our community and need to be supported. In addition, I felt the organizers made a special effort to keep the event focused on the directors, artists, musicians, actors, authors and organizations who were present. They recognized the fact that we are all in this together. Sikh Arts and Films are only beginning to be acknowledged, there is so much potential and growth that will still occur. However, this isnt going to magically happen overnight, and it most definitely wont happen without the communitys support.

golden_temple.jpgI was recently told that Sikhs in the UK spend 7 times more on license plates than they do on books (yes, 7 times!). While Im not sure of the statistic in the US, the point is clear perhaps were not investing in the right places? I think as a community we have begun to establish the need to support non-profit organizations that are working to address human rights, legal, education and activism issues (although we still have a long way to go to enhance our support). However, what goes hand in hand with this is the support and advancement of Sikh Art and Media. Without a doubt, events such as Sikh Lens are helping to pave the path however, we as a community need to ask ourselves why we are so hesitant to spend money on independent films, childrens books, on historical references and on paintings. When I think about other immigrant communities, I notice that their advancement as a community comes from their support of one another. Whether we like to admit it or not, our community is extremely frugal and competitive with each other, and unless we start to move away from those stereotypes we will not be creating a better world for our children.

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Sikh Art and Film Festival – Los Angeles

saff_logo.pngThis weekend Sikhlens will be presenting its annual Sikh Art and Film Festival 2009. The film festival showcases the best in Sikh movie-making talents from around the globe. It also presents a forum for aspiring Sikh artists to also come and display their burgeoning talents. A few book launches are planned with a particular emphasis on children’s books. Authors of A Lion’s Mane and The Royal Falcon are planned to be in attendance to do a live reading.

The inaugural Sikh Art and Film Festival will be held at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA on November 13-15th.

In previous articles on The Langar Hall, I have written about how certain Sikh-film haters groan in jealousy and spew hatred, about the Sikhs taking advantage of new forms of media. Such efforts in the community should be encouraged and more platforms created.

The weekend features a number of different clusters, highlighting issues on the youth, creative Sikhs, short films, feature films, and even Remembering 1984. The Remembering 1984 cluster on Sunday afternoon will be co-hosted with the Jakara Movement in conjunction with its Visions of Truth film series.

So whether you come for the entire weekend, make it out to just one cluster (at $15 pre-sale, you wont find a better price), or at least to Sunday’s mela, check the schedule, check out the films, and make sure you come out and support Sikh arts! We’ll be in attendance and will post on our experience after the event.