The 9th Annual Sikh Art & Film Foundation Festival Seeks To Honor Pride and Eliminate Prejudice

J Hurtado, Contributing Writer
I'm about 100% sure we've never covered this festival, but I think its existence and current set of goals deserves notice.

The Sikh Art & Film Foundation will be holding their 9th annual film festival this Saturday, November 3rd in New York City. It may only be one day, and only a handful of films, but this is a community who has been thrust into the spotlight through one tragic significant event earlier this year, and this festival is dedicated to hopefully enlightening people about who the Sikh community is. There will be fifteen new shorts in the program each examining a different facet of Sikh culture and community, the event will culminate in the screening of Oak Creek: In Memoriam, a recently completely short documentary about the tragedy in Wisconsin and its aftereffects.

Learn more about this event through the press release below and the affiliated links:

Sikh Art & Film Foundation's 9th Annual International Film Festival Aims to Honor Pride and Eliminate Prejudice -- Nov. 3 in New York

15 groundbreaking films share message of culture, values, self-esteem and struggle of contemporary Sikhs, followers of the world's fifth largest faith

Films include a short doc about the Oak Creek shootings, stories of Sikh heroism in 20th Century's World Wars, turban custom and fashion, Sikh hip-hop, inspiring stories of Sikhs overcoming violence, and the legacy of Sikhs in Kabul

(October 29, 2012 -- New York, NY) - To celebrate and commemorate Sikh art, culture, leadership, and film, the Sikh Art & Film Foundation (SAFF) proudly presents its 9th annual Film Festival on Saturday, November 3, 2012. The 9th annual Sikh International Film Festival will be held from noon to midnight on Saturday, November 3 at the Asia Society and Museum (725 Park Avenue at 70th St.) in New York. Media RSVP is required, and one-on-one interviews will be made available with filmmakers, dignitaries, awardees, and other noted celebrities during the media red carpet from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, November 3 at the Asia Society and Museum. Media check-in begins promptly at 5:00 p.m.

The November 3rd film festival at the Asia Society will present 15 short films and documentaries featuring Sikh stories from across the globe, from both established and emerging filmmakers. Short films will be shown from noon to 2 p.m., short documentaries from 3 to 5 p.m., and premiere documentaries from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The event will culminate with an after-party and awards ceremony from 9:00 p.m. to midnight. Winning films in the category of Best Short Film and Best Documentary will be recognized with a cash prize, and each film participating receives a screening fee. The Sikh Art & Film Foundation's awards, fees, and cash prizes total $15,000.

Five films will make their World Premiere at SIFF 2012 including: Oak Creek: In Memoriam, from award-winning filmmaker Valarie Kaur (Divided We Fall), a recently completed short documentary commemorating the tragic shootings at Oak Creek; We Are Sikhs: a Poem, a short by Amardeep Kaleka, whose father was killed at Oak Creek; The Volunteers, British director Mark Hammett's short feature about a young nursing home volunteer learning about Sikhs during World War II and the Burmese War; Injustice 1984, a film by Jarnail Singh which uncovers ugly truths behind the 1984 massacre from one family's perspective, and The Sikhs of Kabul, a hard-hitting look at the minority Sikh population still living in Kabul, Afghanistan, where, during Taliban rule, they fell to the lowest rungs of society, and remain confined to a compound.  Making its U.S. Premiere is Hola! The Mighty Colors, filmmaker Teena Kaur's story about the Sikh celebration.

Other titles being shown are: the short Humble the Poet about the tattooed hip-hop artist who is also a practicing Sikh in Toronto; Namrata, a true story of Namrata "Mona" Gil, an abused Sikh woman who becomes a police officer in Canada; The Visionary, a new film by controversial director Michael Singh; Sikhs@War, the story of the Sikhs who were recruited to fight for the Allies during WWI and WWII; #MyTurban, interviews with prominent Sikhs that were created from a social networking initiative; Beyond the Gardens' Wall, about the harsh treatment of Sikh and Chinese immigrants who came to work in British Columbia in the early 1900s; Kartiviya, a short narrative film about a New York Sikh cab driver and grandiose promises made by a passenger; Remembrance: A Sikh Story about Sikhs in the Great Wars, and Five Folds, a narrative father-son drama.

During the 7:00 p.m. documentary premiere series, the Sikh Art & Film Foundation will premiere a multi-million dollar public service announcement campaign called Be Proud, created by Gurbaksh Chahal, Be Proud Foundation Founder and Founder & CEO of RadiumOne, and sponsored by SAFF. The Be Proud campaign, created in the wake of the tragic Gurudwara shootings of six innocent Sikhs in Wisconsin in August, will begin airing nationwide in November 2012, bringing its anti-hate, pro-unity message to Americans from all walks of life. The campaign, which is backed by renowned figures such as Sir Ben Kingsley, Deepak Chopra, Jay Sean, Gurinder Chadha, Kabir Bedi, Vikas Khanna, RDB, Anupam Kher, Lisa Ray, Priyanka Chopra, Eva Longoria, Arminder Gill, and Aamir Khan, is about eliminating hate with the "unifying truth that we are all a little different and we should be proud of what makes us unique," according to Mr. Chahal.  Be Proud will also be recording videos at the Gala that will be used on the Be Proud website, www.beproud.org.

The Sikh International Film Festival was founded in 2003 to create awareness and pride in the diversity, culture and history of the Sikhs, a people rooted in the Punjab region of South Asia who practice the world's fifth largest religion. Announcing the 2012 Film Festival and Sikh Heritage Gala, Tejinder S. Bindra, President of the Foundation, said, "In offering this year's excellent lineup of films and events and sponsoring the Be Proud campaign, we renew our mission to demonstrate Sikh culture and stand with our partners in declaring that intercultural understanding, fighting for the oppressed, and respect for each other's differences are not just our core Sikh values, they are also our American values. "

Tickets to the Short Films and Short Docs sessions are $10. Tickets to the evening documentary session and after party are $30. For the complete schedule, film descriptions, trailers, and ticket information, please visit www.sikharts.com.

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