Seeking Sikh Film Festival & Awards Gala
October was a good month to be Sikh in the Big Apple – there were enough films, seminars and socializing events to make you think you were back in Amritsar or Delhi! The 8th Annual Sikh International Film Festival took place at the Asia Society in Manhattan with a powerful array of films organized by the Film Chair Dr. Paul Johar.
Gurinder Chadha and films about the Sikh Diaspora
These were films which addressed the many issues, often heart-breaking ones, faced by the Sikh community. Canadian Soldier Sikhs and The Ulysses shared the award for Best Documentary, while Jagjeet won the award for Best Short Film. The awards were presented by none other than popular filmmaker Gurinder Chadha.
The winners were decided by a jury consisting of some impressive names: Dr. Balbinder S. Bhogal – Associate Professor in Religion, Hofstra University, video producer Ian Hall, Dr. Sophie Hawkins, Professor of Religion, Hofstra University, filmmaker Safina Uberoi who is a Golden Eagle Award winner for 1-800-India, Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany -“the father of fiber optics”, and Dr. I.J. Singh, professor emeritus of anatomical sciences, New York University.
The Sikh Art & Film Foundation continues to grow and expand its role in the community under its president Tejinder Singh Bindra, and this year marked the first time a full-fledged Sikh Summit took place at Asia Society, exposing the younger generation to noteworthy movers and shakers like Gurinder Chadha, Dr. Mohanbir S. Sawhney, professor, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and Gurvendra S. Suri founder and CEO, Optimal Solutions Integration, Inc.
And if anyone knows how to party, it’s the Sikh and Punjabi communities! Cipriani Wall Street saw the razzle and dazzle of the Sikh Heritage Gala with awards being presented by Chief Guest Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs, to Gurinder Chadha, Jaspal Bindra (CEO Standard Chartered Bank Asia) for Leadership; and author and diplomat Hon. Navtej Sarna, India’s (Ambassador to Israel) for Vision.
How do you cap an evening which celebrates Sikh joie de vivre and can-do spirit? With an electrifying performance by the Prince of Bhangra, Sukhbir, of course!
The Sikh International Film Festival was created in 2003 to celebrate the rich history and culture of the Sikhs – and eight years later, continues to fulfill that mandate. Next year’s film festival and gala is already on the drawing board and set for October 2012. Good news for those – like me – who missed this year’s event. The photo gallery offers you a peek into the 3-day event and shows you the fun you missed.