Spinning Wheel Festival: A Celebration of Sikh Arts

Heads-up friends, the season of the Spinning Wheel Festival is about to begin across North America this autumn. Celebrating Sikh films and art, the first stop will be in New York City on Saturday, October 04, 2008 at the Asia Society & Museum (p.s. thats next Saturday). Buy your tickets NOW! The wonderful Rabbi Shergill will be performing at the opening gala (yes I am really biased here I heart Rabbi Shergill) and DJ Rekha will be literally spinning at the after party.

Films a the NYC festival will range from documentaries on Pahelwani (i.e. Panjabi wrestling) and Kabaddi-playing Canadian police officers to issues affecting the Sikh community from 1984 and post-9/11 hate crimes. There will also be short and feature films. For example, one on a young boys struggle to keep his hair while his family fears the obstacles he will encounter and another on a young Sikh doctor struggling with the inequities of the American Health System and ultimately his own identity. The Holy Duels of Hola Mohalla is a film looking at the Khalsa Panth.

The films seem interesting both in content and presentation. The stories are grounded in the realities many of us encounter everyday. You can get a full listing of the films and their synopses here.

In the past, I have attended the Spinning Wheel Festival at one of its many North American stops and found it a great space for artists and art-enthusiasts to be exposed to Sikh creativity. I remember there being a panel discussion with the directors and the audience. We dont have too many of these creative opportunities in our community even though we spend plenty of time and space advertising foreign medical schools in Poland, China, and the Caribbean.

I have found that some films are really hit or miss at these festivals, but its expected sense the focus is on cultivating and inspiring creativity; while, building a permanent Sikh film festival for years to come. Cash prizes are awarded to the bests in various categories. I have been told that the listing and quality of films varies across the different North American stops.

At the end of the day why not go, especially if its close by. I personally think its worth a visit as an act of supporting Sikh arts and learning about the various issues affecting our community. Sometimes we get too caught up in our own worlds and dont realize these issues are taking place or we are in amidst of them and they become normal parts of our lives leaving very little room for reflection or exposure to others perceptions. Thus, its an opportunity to get a fresh/new look at various issues.

Lastly, the arts, from painting and photography to films and music, are our communitys soul! They help us speak in ways we cant always articulate. So go save your soul and attend a Sikh artistic event! :)

Okay, enough of the attempt at convincing the other North American stops will be:

  • Toronto, Canada from October 10-12, 2008 at the Isabel Bader Theatre.
  • Hollywood, California from November 14-16, 2008 at the Writers Guild Theatre.

Are yall thinking of going? What have your experiences been at the various Spinning Wheel Festivals? Does anyone know of other North American stops?

p.p.s. The Toronto and Hollywood poster is really interesting isn’t it … a conversation in of itself!


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11 Responses to “Spinning Wheel Festival: A Celebration of Sikh Arts”

  1. Savraj says:

    Point of clarification, you write:

    …“Spinning Wheel Festival” is about to begin across North America this autumn. Celebrating Sikh films and art, the first stop will be in New York City on Saturday, October 04, 2008…

    From what I can tell the "Sikh Film Festival 2008" (sikharts.com) in New York is perhaps a cousin of the "Spinning Wheel Film Festival" (sikhwheel.com, the Toronto/Hollywood one) but they are otherwise different entities/organizations with different films. Anyway, the more the merrier!

    With any luck I'll be attending the NY and Toronto festivals.

  2. Savraj says:

    Point of clarification, you write:

    …Spinning Wheel Festival is about to begin across North America this autumn. Celebrating Sikh films and art, the first stop will be in New York City on Saturday, October 04, 2008…

    From what I can tell the “Sikh Film Festival 2008″ (sikharts.com) in New York is perhaps a cousin of the “Spinning Wheel Film Festival” (sikhwheel.com, the Toronto/Hollywood one) but they are otherwise different entities/organizations with different films. Anyway, the more the merrier!

    With any luck I’ll be attending the NY and Toronto festivals.

  3. Phulkari says:

    Hey Savraj! When writing this post I was a bit confused as to the "Sikh Film Festival 2008" being a "cousin" or "sister" of the "Spinning Wheel Film Festival", particularly since on the flier from the sikhwheel.com poster only mentions Toronto and Hollywood.

    However, Sikhnet's announcement of the event made me think they were more “sisters”:

    "The Sikh Art and Film Foundation is pleased to host the Fifth Annual New York Spinning Wheel Film Festival at Asia Society and Museum in Manhattan on Saturday October 4th 2008."

    But then why isn’t New York City listed on the poster … I don’t know … maybe logistics maybe something else. Any one know for sure?

    Great you are planning to attend the NY and Toronto festivals! You will have to tell us how they went!

  4. Phulkari says:

    Hey Savraj! When writing this post I was a bit confused as to the “Sikh Film Festival 2008″ being a “cousin” or “sister” of the “Spinning Wheel Film Festival”, particularly since on the flier from the sikhwheel.com poster only mentions Toronto and Hollywood.

    However, Sikhnet’s announcement of the event made me think they were more sisters:

    “The Sikh Art and Film Foundation is pleased to host the Fifth Annual New York Spinning Wheel Film Festival at Asia Society and Museum in Manhattan on Saturday October 4th 2008.”

    But then why isnt New York City listed on the poster I dont know maybe logistics maybe something else. Any one know for sure?

    Great you are planning to attend the NY and Toronto festivals! You will have to tell us how they went!

  5. [...] petition, drafted in response to an advertisement for the upcoming Spinning Wheel Film Festivals, states that the “superhero” image being used depicts Sikhs in a negative manner. The [...]

  6. Nina Kaur says:

    Sikh Art & Spinning Wheel Film Festival Comes to Hollywood

    HOLLYWOOD, CA: From November 14 to 16, 2008, Sikh artists and film makers will capture the Hollywood spotlight. Southern Californians are excited to showcase their talent and celebrate the stories of Sikhs worldwide at the Fifth Annual Sikh Art and Spinning Wheel Film Festival (SWFF).

    Why the name “Spinning Wheel” for the film festival? In earlier times, villagers gathered around a spinning wheel, the charkha, to spin, weave, and share joys, sorrows and stories. Likewise, the SWFF is a gathering place for filmmakers and their audiences to explore the diverse experiences of Sikhs in the global village.

    The festivities begin on Friday, November 14 with a red carpet gala. Artists, film makers, actors, directors, producers, museum curators and of course fans will have a chance to mix, mingle, and preview Sikh art and select movies. The evening will also include a display of works from leading artists, such as the Singh Twins from the UK, Iqbal Singh from India, Tanya Singh and Siri Kartar Kaur Khalsa from California, and include rare books, coins, carvings, jewelry, and historic documents featuring Sikhs.

    Saturday will showcase sixteen excellent films. The morning is dedicated to children, presenting Cultural Safari, Saka Sirhand a cartoon about the sacrifice of Guru Gobind Singh’s youngest sons, and the Singh Twins’ film The Making of Liverpool. Throughout the day movies will cover topics ranging from historic battles in Punjab (Chillianwala) to current struggles in the streets of New York, Surrie, and France (Warrior Boyz, Sweet Amerika, Right to Turban). Young Angad Singh’s film Roots and Wings, Michael Singh’s film 35-Pantee, and many other are not be missed. Film makers, actors, and directors such as Raj Paul Singh Dillon, the Singh Twins and Michael Singh, to name a few, will all be there to talk about their inspiring works.

    On Sunday, leading curators, researchers and artists from The British Museum, National Army Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Trust and Royal Geographic Society, and others will present Sikh art and artifacts in the possession of the British government and public institutions. The event will focus on specific themes relevant to Sikh Heritage, ranging from accounts of the Anglo-Sikh wars, techniques used in the construction of Sikh arms and armor, and the life of Maharaja Duleep Singh. The conclusion of the festival is dedicated to Creative Sikhs! a first of its kind section featuring Sikhs who work in the visual arts, audio, entertainment and fashion industry.

    Post-event parties are happening on Saturday and Sunday nights in Beverely Hills!

    Parking is Free for festival goers!

    Please visit: http://www.spinningwheelhollywood.com for schedules, tickets and more information.

  7. Nina Kaur says:

    Sikh Art & Spinning Wheel Film Festival Comes to Hollywood

    HOLLYWOOD, CA: From November 14 to 16, 2008, Sikh artists and film makers will capture the Hollywood spotlight. Southern Californians are excited to showcase their talent and celebrate the stories of Sikhs worldwide at the Fifth Annual Sikh Art and Spinning Wheel Film Festival (SWFF).

    Why the name Spinning Wheel for the film festival? In earlier times, villagers gathered around a spinning wheel, the charkha, to spin, weave, and share joys, sorrows and stories. Likewise, the SWFF is a gathering place for filmmakers and their audiences to explore the diverse experiences of Sikhs in the global village.

    The festivities begin on Friday, November 14 with a red carpet gala. Artists, film makers, actors, directors, producers, museum curators and of course fans will have a chance to mix, mingle, and preview Sikh art and select movies. The evening will also include a display of works from leading artists, such as the Singh Twins from the UK, Iqbal Singh from India, Tanya Singh and Siri Kartar Kaur Khalsa from California, and include rare books, coins, carvings, jewelry, and historic documents featuring Sikhs.

    Saturday will showcase sixteen excellent films. The morning is dedicated to children, presenting Cultural Safari, Saka Sirhand a cartoon about the sacrifice of Guru Gobind Singhs youngest sons, and the Singh Twins film The Making of Liverpool. Throughout the day movies will cover topics ranging from historic battles in Punjab (Chillianwala) to current struggles in the streets of New York, Surrie, and France (Warrior Boyz, Sweet Amerika, Right to Turban). Young Angad Singhs film Roots and Wings, Michael Singhs film 35-Pantee, and many other are not be missed. Film makers, actors, and directors such as Raj Paul Singh Dillon, the Singh Twins and Michael Singh, to name a few, will all be there to talk about their inspiring works.

    On Sunday, leading curators, researchers and artists from The British Museum, National Army Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Trust and Royal Geographic Society, and others will present Sikh art and artifacts in the possession of the British government and public institutions. The event will focus on specific themes relevant to Sikh Heritage, ranging from accounts of the Anglo-Sikh wars, techniques used in the construction of Sikh arms and armor, and the life of Maharaja Duleep Singh. The conclusion of the festival is dedicated to Creative Sikhs! a first of its kind section featuring Sikhs who work in the visual arts, audio, entertainment and fashion industry.

    Post-event parties are happening on Saturday and Sunday nights in Beverely Hills!
    Parking is Free for festival goers!
    Please visit: http://www.spinningwheelhollywood.com for schedules, tickets and more information.

  8. Nina says:

    Correction: 35-Pantee is Raj K. Singh's film, not Michael Singh. Sorry about that.

  9. Nina says:

    Correction: 35-Pantee is Raj K. Singh’s film, not Michael Singh. Sorry about that.

  10. [...] spent the past weekend surrounded by Sikh Art and Film at the annual Spinning Wheel Film Festival in Hollywood. I usually attend these events with high expectations, [...]

  11. Sunny says:

    didn't like that super-sikhs family pic ….. please do not show these type of posters to public ..looks like a work of some lunatic .. does do any good.

    **>>> WAHEGURU <<<**

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