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2 documentaries share top prize at Sikh Film Festival

October 21
22:05 2011

NEW YORK: The 8th Annual Sikh International Film Festival and Heritage Gala on Oct 15 at Cipriani’s on Wall Street brought to a close the three-day Sikh International Film Festival and Leadership Summit with an evening of celebration and ceremony.
People from all walks of life ventured to Manhattan for a proud and jovial display of Sikh art and culture. Canadian Soldier Sikhs and The Ulysses shared the award for Best Documentary, while Jagjeet captured the award for Best Short Film.
Commenting on the occasion, the festival’s Film Chair, Dr. Paul Johar, brought to notice “not only the diverse range of films but the filmmakers from all walks of life behind them.” Dr. Johar then gave an overview of the 12 documentary and short films that participated in the festival. Acclaimed director Gurinder Chadha presented the film awards.
Best Short winner Kanwaljit Singh won for Jagjeet, a narrative short film that examines the toll the 1984 Delhi riots takes on the relationship of two lifelong best friends. The Best Documentary Award was shared by two films: director David Gray was recognized for his film Canadian Soldier Sikhs, a fascinating chronicle of ten Sikh men in the World War I-era Canadian army struggling through enlistment, training, and the battlefield. Accepting the other Best Documentary award were Alberto Garcia Ortiz and Agatha Maciaszek, directors of The Ulysses, a film about Punjabi Indian immigrants in a Spanish enclave of Morocco, awaiting their fate in a shanty community they’ve built to avoid deportation.
At the closing gala and awards event, Sikh Art & Film Foundation President Tejinder Singh Bindra and Chief Guest Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs, India handed out the annual Sikh Heritage Awards. Recipients of 2011 honors were Gurinder Chadha, Filmmaker (Bend It Like Beckham, It’s a Wonderful Afterlife) for Art; Jaspal Bindra (CEO Standard Chartered Bank Asia) for Leadership; and author and diplomat Navtej Sarna (India’s Ambassador to Israel) for Vision.
Chadha, who is currently working on a groundbreaking new film about the Punjabi-British experience during Partition, expressed her gratitude for the honor, acknowledging the wealth of talent who shared their films with audiences throughout the festival.
2011 Sikh Heritage Awards Gala festivities were capped off with a performance from the prince of Bhangra, Sukhbir, and a set from DJ Kucha brought everyone together on the dance floor for a roaring ending to the event. Along with the filmmakers, award recipients and Sikh Art and Film Foundation leaders, guests included Tarlochan Singh (Former Member of Parliament and Chairman Minorities Commission India), Thomas DiNapoli (Office of the New York State Comptroller), Carol A. Robles-Roman (Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs, NYC), Prabhu Dayal (Consul General of India), Manjeev Puri (India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to UN), Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez (Commissioner of NY State), Jon Kaiman (Supervisor, Town of Hempstead), Michael Miller (CEO Jewish Community Relations Council), and Stuart Rabinowitz (President Hofstra University).
The Sikh International Film Festival was founded in 2003 to create awareness and pride in the diversity, culture and history of the Sikhs. The Sikh Art and Film Foundation is planning next year’s Festival and Gala in Manhattan in October 2012.
India Post News Service

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