Sikhlens: Sikh Arts & Film Festival in California from November 22 to 24

Sikh Arts & Film Festival

SAFF 2019 to premiere 3 films centered around Sikh history.

A unique art and culture festival showcasing the work of diaspora as well as film makers from around the world will be held in California from November 22 to 24.

Sikhlens: Sikh Arts & Film Festival 2019 seeks to provide an outlet for sharing Sikh heritage and culture with the rest of the world by creating awareness for work that is “Sikh-centric,” showcasing the talent, and instilling pride in the community.

Indian filmmaker Ojaswwee Sharma’s three films have been officially selected to premiere at the festival. The these are Chaurassi (short film), Scars – After a 100 Years of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (documentary) and Butter Toast (short film).

READ MORE: ‘The Sikh Project’: An ongoing exhibition at California Museum shows many shades of Sikhs in America (February 11, 2019)

This is the third consecutive year where Ojaswwee’s films have screened at the Sikhlens festival in the U.S. The film maker has also showcased his films in previous years such as Zubaan (2017), The Tide of Time (2017) and Rooh (2018).

Mr. Ojaswwee Sharma

Co-produced by Sikhlens Destination S, Bicky Singh, Pinaka Mediaworks and Rolling Frames Entertainment, the 20-minute short film Chaurassi will be screened at the opening night of the festival on November 22.

Set in the year 1984, the film is based on a true incident, narrating the story of a bereft Sikh couple in Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh that have been sufferers at the hands of the events that shook the nation that year. This is the flagship film of 2019 by Ojaswwee Sharma.

Scars – After a 100 Years of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, another Sikhlens Destination S production, will be the second film to premiere at the festival on November 23 with a run time of 20 minutes.

In an ode to the centenary of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, the documentary is weaved through heart-wrenching narratives from the descendants of the martyrs who have kept the stories buried deep in their hearts over the generations.

Artists, authors, historians and researchers revisit the tragedy in the film and narrate how things have unfolded since then, through their work of art, writing and research.

Executive Producer for the films Chaurassi and Scars – After a 100 Years of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, Bicky Singh, said, “Any work of art that helps retain Sikh history, fulfills our mission of keeping those golden memories alive.

“Chaurassi, meaning 1984, takes the viewers on a harrowing ride through the four national tragedies that engulfed and convulsed India in that fateful year, whereas Scars brings the emotion prevailing in Punjab even after a 100-years of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Both films are fine works of art, and we are proud we could support such important projects.”

READ MORE: ‘We are Sikhs’ campaign wins PRWeek US award (March 22, 2018)

Mr. Bicky Singh

Another short film to screen at the Californian festival on November 24 is Butter Toast. It is a sweet 6-minute take on the essence and importance of food. India has teeming millions who go hungry to bed.

This short film implores everyone to save every bit of food and share with the ones who cannot afford a proper meal to build a nation where everyone is privy to proper food and nutrition. The film features the father-son duo of Ramandeep Singh and Mahekdeep Singh.

“Over the last three years, our films have been successfully received by audiences worldwide and Sikhlens has been a great platform where we’ve had the opportunity to make films that help us stay close to our roots in Punjab,” said Director Ojaswwee Sharma.

ALSO READ: Exhibit spreading awareness about Sikhs in US to be unveiled around 9/11 anniversary (May 1, 2016)

“As a filmmaker, I often choose subjects that are close to the sentiments of the people and hence, chose stories like Chaurassi and Butter Toast that they can relate to,” he said. “Even the documentary, Scars, has been an emotional journey and took our entire crew through the struggles and journey of the common man today.”

“Much like our previous films, these three are close to my heart as well and I hope that they convey the emotion across to our audience,” sharma said.

Sikh Arts & Film Festival (SAFF 2019) will be held at Dodge College of Film & Media Arts, Chapman University, California this year from 22nd-24th November 2019.


Film based on 1984 riots against Sikhs wins award at the London Indian Film Festival (July 29, 2014)

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