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Sikh Film Fest Captivates New York City Audience


Sikh Film Fest Captivates New York City Audience

Photo: From left -Hansdip Bindra, Paul Johar Teji Bindra, Vishavjit Singh, Ryan Westra, Vikas Khanna & Mandeep Singh

India-West Staff Reporter

NEW YORK, NY – The Sikh International Film Festival 2023 unfurled a spellbinding tale of Sikh heritage and cultural diversity at the prestigious Rubin Museum on December 16. This year’s festival treated the audience to an enchanting journey through impactful stories, with standout films like

“Baywatana: Without a Country’, directed by high school students from Boston”, explored the plight of Sikhs and Hindus in Taliban-era Afghanistan.

Photo: From left – Harbaldeep Singh, Prof. Sarabjit Singh Dr Avtar Singh, Aekem Singh, Jaskeerat Singh, Tanisha Kaur Kapoor, Jasratan Chopra, Suner Kaur Chopra, Dr Navjot Sobti & Nimrata Kaur from the Sikh Coalition

“American Sikh”, is a true story of an Indian American Sikh who was trying to assimilate with the Americans. The Oscar-qualified animated short film is a story of American Sikh Hero Vishvajit Singh and Produced by Guneet Monga – Wikipedia – Oscar-winning producer (The Elephant Whisperers) and Michelin-starred chef-filmmaker Vikas Khanna and directed and illustrated by American Sikh Hero Vishavjit Singh and Ryan Westra. Vikas Khanna said, “One of the highlights of screening ‘American Sikh’ at Sikh International Film Festival was engaging the little ones and the youth who could see themselves reflected in our film. Their dreams and hopes keep me inspired.”

“Colonel Kalsi: Beyond the Call”: is another true story of a Sikh young Kamal Kalsi who fought to serve in the US Army with his turban and beard. The film explores themes of diversity, sacrifice, faith, identity and resilience. Colonel Kalsi expressed, “Serving in the Army with my unique camo turban and beard was a profound experience of celebrating my Sikh identity while embodying the spirit of American patriotism…”

Photo: Audience at the screening

As the curtains closed on these impactful narratives, the festival featured over 10 films, covering a diverse range of topics from current affairs to historical perspectives. Teji Bindra (Founder and President of Sikh Art & Film Foundation), Mandeep Sobti (Senior VP and Chair of Finance), Dr Paul Johar (Chair SAFF – Film Festival), Harmeet Bharara ( Former Chair FF and Gala), Hansdip Bindra ( Head of PR and Marketing), expressed their satisfaction with the films that captivated a packed auditorium at the Rubin Museum in Manhattan.

Teji Bindra emphasized, “Sikh Art & Film Foundation has been at the forefront in bringing better awareness of Sikhs through films and arts for the past 17 years. We are pleased with the fantastic movies showcased this year.”

Photo: Kamaljeet Kalsi and Colonel Kalsi

Dr. Paul Johar added, “This year’s Sikh International Film Festival showcased a powerful lineup addressing contemporary Sikh Diaspora issues, delved into the challenges faced by the community. “Amardeep Singh’s documentary, “Oneness in Diversity: Elixir of Guru Nanak and the Indic Saints,” intertwined memories of Saints and Sufi mystics, emphasizing the essential theme of oneness and diversity. The festival, with its captivating stories and impactful quotes from filmmakers, not only celebrated Sikh culture but also provided a dynamic platform for filmmakers to showcase their artistry.

The Sikh International Film Festival, originating in 2004, has been a cultural beacon, fostering awareness of Sikh culture through films and arts. As the curtains closed on this year’s festival, the organizers expressed gratitude to viewers for their unwavering support, marking a significant chapter in the festival’s journey.

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