LOS ANGELES, California—In an effort to strengthen the cultural understanding between Sikh Americans and their neighbors and raise awareness about a community with a more-than-125-year history in the United States, SikhLens—a Sikh organization dedicated to increasing its community’s profile through the arts— will host its sixth annual Sikh Arts & Film Festival 2014 starting Friday, November 21. Showcasing the work of artists from various media including film, literature, music, art, social media and fashion, SikhLens allows attendees to better understand Sikh culture, values, stories, and struggles.
Bicky Singh, SikhLens founder remarked, “It has been an honor to showcase Sikh artists and filmmakers at SikhLens, which has become a global celebration of Sikh culture. Even more importantly, this festival creates bridges between communities. SikhLens now reaches the film directors and artists of the future, including students at the Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.”
At the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, students create scholarship films, which are sponsored by Sikh patrons, philanthropists and other donors, in an effort to gain understanding of the Sikh community. The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)’s Turban Myths study, done in conjunction with Stanford University researchers in 2013, found that the media played a role in bias against the Sikh articles of faith. Seventy percent of Americans cannot properly identify a Sikh American, and one in five have fear or apprehension when they see a Sikh American who is a stranger. Bicky Singh pioneered an ongoing partnership between SikhLens and the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in order to ensure that future producers, directors, and media executives avoid the stereotyping and misunderstandings present against the Sikh articles of faith in major forms of media.
The three-day festival will begin with Creative Sikhs , a celebration of new talent, and end with the SikhLens Showcase, a never-before seen concert featuring Sikh musicians and performers. The program will be broken up into seven themed categories and highlight current social issues, films from varied genres, and talent.
DATE: Friday, November 21- Sunday November 23, 2014
WHERE: Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University, Orange, CA
MEDIA RSVP: Email [email protected]
Interviews and opportunities for photography are also available.
A Tribute, The story of Sikh soldiers during WW1, Saturday Nov 22, 2014, 10:00 a.m.
Red, White and Beard, A short about Vishvajit Singh, a Sikh who challenges the concept of a hero, Nov 22, 2014, 10:00 a.m.
Struggle to Serve, A documentary on the Sikh American struggle to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces,November 23, 2014 11:00 a.m.
Kultar’s Mime, The hidden story of the 1984 Delhi pogroms as seen by a Jewish art collective, November 23, 2014, 3:00 p.m.
SikhLens also falls during Sikh Awareness Month in California. Sikh Americans have a rich heritage in “The Golden State” that dates back to the early 1900s. Milestones in the California Sikh community’s history includes the founding of the Stockton Gurdwara, the first Sikh house of worship in America, in 1912. Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian American and Sikh American Congressman who hailed from California was once a secretary of that very Gurdwara.