The Spinning Wheel Film Festival Florida
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
J A G O
Premiering for the 1st Time in Florida
A Distinguished Sikh Conference for Students and Professionals
Veteran's Day Weekend
November 9-12, 2006
"Sikh Identity: Celebrating Our Heritage"
Saturday, November 11, 2006
The International Spinning Wheel Film is a Celebration of Sikh Identity and culture. The Festival will be held for the first time in South Florida, in conjunction with Jago Miami 2006, (www.jagomiami.com). Sikhism, the youngest of the world religions, is barely five hundred years old. Its founder, Guru Nanak, was born in 1469. Guru Nanak spread a simple message of "Ek Ong Kar": we are all one, created by the One Creator of all Creation. This was at a time when India was being torn apart by castes, sectarianism, religious factions, and fanaticism. He aligned with no religion, and respected all religions. He expressed the reality that there is one God and many paths, and the Name of God is Truth, "Sat Nam".
The Festival will debut showing 10 films ranging from determined documentaries to comical compositions. The main themes focused in the Festival are, Sikh Identity and Sikhs in the Media. The goal of the Festival is to spread awareness of the religion and culture of Sikhism, especially to fight against the post 9/11 discrimination faced by many Sikh Americans. The Festival will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2006 at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
Punjabi music is ever popular in the western world today, with the powerful beats of the dhol and the unheard of tunes from the villages of Punjab. Bol Punjab De is a short film that portrays music from Punjab through the eyes of non- resident Indians. Another film pertaining to Sikhs in the media is Singh is King, which is a short musical montage of various Sikhs and they’re many contributions to the world.
Another theme presented in the Festival is the everlasting issue of marriage with Sikh Americans. Hyde and Sikh is a film about an American man who falls in love with a Sikh woman and will go through any means necessary to gain her parents approval for their marriage. A common trait we see amongst Sikh Americans is their East/ West Split personalities, the result of being “Americanized.” Sody Singh Kahlon tackles this issue, in Sikhs in the City, a comical short film with an Americanized Sikh man, played by him, who struggles to find the soul mate that’s perfect for him and not his father.
As a result of the tragic events of 9/11, American individuals have been targeted as being the “enemy,” especially to the many turban wearing Sikhs. The Festival is themed with films pertaining to Sikh Identity and post 9/11 discrimination. American Made is a story about a Sikh family stranded on a road in the desert and their only hope is the occasional vehicle that speeds by on the highway. Sharat Raju portrays how this family deals with tradition, faith, conformity and sacrifice, especially after the family's youngest son accuses his turban-clad orthodox father of looking like a terrorist.
The Festival’s feature film is Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath. In this movie Valarie Kaur sets out with her cousin to document the many hate crimes dealt by Sikh, Muslim, and Arab Americans shortly following the traumatic events of 9/11. She revisits these stories four years later to see what has and what has not changed. The documentary is intertwined with analysis by lawyers, leading scholars, and educated activists. The film focuses on the unfortunate nature of fear, prejudice, and violence of a nation at war with itself.
The films will be followed by a Question and Answer section with Sharat Raju (producer of American Made and Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath) and Valarie Kaur (Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath.) providing the audience with a unique opportunity to discuss and ask questions to the filmmakers themselves. Also in conjunction with Jago Miami Sikh Young Professionals Conference, there will be seminars hosted by Sharat Raju and Valarie Kaur giving conference attendees a more in depth understanding into the perspective that led to the production of the film post 9/11 and the arduous filmmaking process.
The Spinning Wheel Film Festival is a way to portray Sikh culture in a cinematic acquisition, as well as themes pertaining to human rights and religious freedoms. The goal of the Spinning Wheel Film Festival is to use the power of film to spread the message of Sikhism, in both an educational and entertaining perspective, while also portraying the many challenges facing Sikhs and others alike. The Festival also aims to provoke discussion amongst Sikhs and non- Sikhs about the complex issues faced by many, as well as exposes Sikh Films to the general public.
For further information, please contact:
Spinning Wheel Film Festival, Jaitegh Singh
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