Sikh International Film Festival 2014 – May 2-3 in New York City

    Celebrating 10 years of preserving Sikh Heritage, Culture & Traditions

    NEW YORK (TIP): To celebrate and commemorate Sikh art, culture, leadership, and film, The Sikh Art & Film Foundation is presenting its 10th Sikh International Film Festival (SIFF) on Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3, 2014.

    The Premiere Night will take place on Friday, May 2 at the McGraw-Hill Conference Center (1221 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd floor) from 6:30pm onwards. The Festival will be held from 1 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 3 at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place) in New York.

    The Premiere Night on May 2nd will start with Chief Guest and 2014 Honoree Mr. Fakir Syed Aijazzudin, presenting an illustrated lecture on his latest book The Resourceful Fakirs. This remarkable book is set during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler who unified the Punjab for the first and only time in its tumultuous history.

    Mr. Aijazzudin explores this colorful period through the careers of the Fakirs, three brothers who were courtiers at the Sikh Darbar of Lahore. Mr. Aijazzudin, OBE, FCA, is an internationally recognized art historian and author of more than a dozen books which include a catalogue of miniature paintings from the Punjab Hills, the works of 19th century British and European artists who visited the Punjab, a definitive monograph on antique maps of the region and two books on the history of Lahore.

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    presentation will be followed by the US East Coast Premiere of Dalip Singh Saund: His Life, His Legacy directed by E. Samantha Cheng. This documentary shares the remarkable story of Dalip Singh Saund – the first Asian/Indian/Sikh-American elected to the US Congress. Born in a small town of Punjab, Saund was a trailblazer who came to study agriculture at the University of California in 1920. At a time of great discrimination against Asian minorities, Dalip persevered and rose to serve California’s 29th district in the House of Representatives three times between 1957 and 1963.

    An inspirational documentary with powerful archival footage, Dalip Singh Saund tells the little known story of a man of high integrity who made history through his contribution to American political life. The night will close with, drinks, dinner, and high energy Bhangra music at the After Party. The May 3rd Film Festival at the NYU Skirball Center will present 11 short films, documentaries, and a feature film based on Sikh stories from across the globe, from both established and emerging filmmakers. Short films will be shown from 1 to 2:45 p.m., short documentaries from 4 to 6:15 p.m., and feature presentation from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. The event will culminate with an awards ceremony from 9 to 9:30 p.m.

    Six films will compete for the best Short Film at SIFF 2012 including three hardhitting films based on the Sikh Genocide of 1984 in India: Kush, from award-winning filmmaker Shubhashish Bhutiani, inspired by a true story of a teacher protecting a 10 year old Sikh student in her class; Message from Satwant Kaur, directed by Eshvinder Singh, about a message to a powerful politician about the crimes he committed during the anti-Sikh pogroms; and Rab Da Vaasta (For God’s Sake), Chakravarty Devulapalli’s adaptation of Hernando Tellez’s well known story “Just Lather, That’s All”. Four Films will compete in the Documentary session.

    These include Kaur directed by Rasna Kaur Neelam and Harnek Singh Neelam, which shows how diverse, inspiring and unique each Sikh woman can be; a powerful narration on the extra judicial killing of Sikhs in Punjab, as documented in The Last Killing produced by the civil rights group Ensaaf; Raw Conversations, directed by Anureet Kaur on the terrible state of farmers in Punjab; and Wrinkles of Life, directed by Jarnail Singh, which deals with the abandonment and anguish of elderly family members by their children in modern day Punjab. Feature presentation – Empty Inside, will close out the Film Festival on May 3rd.

    Award winning director Satdeep Singh’s film depicts the growing drug addiction menace that has engulfed Punjab’s youth. This powerful film tries to uncover the root causes that lead a person to fall into addiction, but also searches for answers and solutions. Empty Inside speaks to a global audience, showing events in our daily lives which lead to something terrible when they are ignored. Addiction is a broad term, and the movie begins from one root cause of all forms of addictions-the emptiness which prevails inside all of us despite having everything on our side. One of the Sikh Art & Film Foundation’s goals is supporting the work of filmmakers who delve into Sikh themes and culture.

    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. 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 2014 Film Festival, Tejinder S. Bindra, President of the Foundation, said, “In offering this excellent lineup of films at our 10th Film Festival in New York, 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”. For the complete schedule, film descriptions, stills, trailers, and ticket information, please visit

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