The Sikhlens Sikh Arts and Film Festival returns to the Chapman campus this weekend.
The Sikhlens Sikh Arts and Film Festival returns to the Chapman campus this weekend.

Sikh Arts and Film Festival comes to Chapman University Nov. 16-18

Sikhlens today unveiled details of its annual Sikh Arts and Film Festival (SAFF) to be held from Nov. 16 to 18, at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

The three-day Sikh Arts and Film Festival will kick off with a Red-Carpet Opening Night celebration on Friday, Nov.16 at 7:45 p.m. at Marion Knott Studios.  Guests will be welcomed and introduced to the festival with a series of short films, live entertainment, and the launch of the 2013 SikhPoint Calendar. Attendees will be able to view Sikh artwork and books while mingling with featured artists, writers, and the local community. The evening will then continue with a dessert and dance reception.

Seating at the Sikh Arts and Film Festival is limited – the public can visit for more details on the festival, or contact or 714-253-4723.

SAFF provides a venue for artists to present their “Sikhcentric” films, art, and music to the broader community with the intent of showcasing their talents and generating increased awareness of Sikh culture. Sikhlens showcases work from artists in a variety of fields, including but not limited to film, books, music, and art. It creates avenues for this work to be shared with the rest of the world with the aim of getting more exposure for the artists and writers and at the same time creating awareness and a better understanding of Sikh culture, heritage and values.

It was also announced that The Sikhlens Awards, underwritten by The Singh Family Trust; Raj & Marta Bhathal: The Bhathal Family Trust; Harriet & Mohindar S. “Sandy” Sandhu: The Sandhu Family Trust; and Gurinder Singh & Prabhjot Kaur Ahluwalia, are providing five Dodge College student documentary groups funds for each to produce documentary films with Sikh themes. The student filmmaking teams include:

  • Dan Duran (BFA/TBJ), Haley Quartarone (BFA/TBJ); Leaving Our Mark, a documentation of the nation’s oldest Sikh American advocacy group -the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) – whose mission is to protect the civil rights of Sikh Americans and ensure a welcoming environment in the United States for future generations.
  • Katie Wise (BFA/TBJ), Devyn Bisson (BFA/Creative Prod.), Dan Duran (BFA/TBJ); Sikh Formaggio documents the story of a Sikh cheese-making community in Northern Italy that emerged during the time Italians were failing to continue the craft of Parmesan cheese.
  • James Parker (BFA/Film Prod.), Liz Hartnett (BFA/TBJ), Jesse Deutchman (BFA/TBJ), Justin Poulsen (BFA/Film Prod.) I Run While Talking To God documents 101-year-old Fauja Singh, the world’s oldest marathon runner, who carried the 2012 Olympic torch through London.
  • David Thompson (BFA/Film Prod.), Jacob Taylor (BFA/TBJ), Ariel Fisher (BFA/Creative Prod.), Tyler Gurd (BFA/Film Prod.)  The Sikh Twins follows world-class graphic artists and filmmakers Rabindra and Amrit Singh (identical twins) who have turned the British art establishment upside down.
  • Samantha Andre (BFA/TBJ), Carly Berryhill (BFA/TBJ) Breaking the Silence documents 5th grade student Raj Singh Sawhney whose team won  the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition with their design to use recently developed nano-fibers–thinner than human hair–to transmit electronic signals from the cochlea of deaf people directly to the appropriate nerves leading to the brain that would allow many deaf people to gain their hearing.

The Sikhlens SAFF Logistics Scholarship, originated to increase the quality of film submissions to SAFF, is awarded to two Dodge College students, who will be editing two Sikh-themed films. The students and films are:

  • Kristelle Laroche (BFA/TBJ) Guru Express documents the train whose journey’s purpose is to return a copy of the sacred scripture, which had been kept at various Gurdwaras in Nairobi and Kericho for the last three decades, to its rightful abode at Makindu Sikh Gurdwara, the most renowned and one of the earliest Sikh Gurdwaras in East Africa that was built when Sikhs worked on the Uganda Railways.
  • Mor Albalak (BFA/TBJ)  Papal Knighthood of Bhai Mohinder Singh documents Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, who was knighted by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in recognition of his dedicated work for Roman Catholic/Sikh relations and for his enthusiastic commitment to working for peace among people of all faiths.

In addition, Dodge College students are helping to edit and disseminate a PSA made possible through a grant provided by Nirinjan Singh Khalsa, Executive Director of the California Sikh Council. Since the tragic event of 9/11, violence against Sikhs and wearers of turbans and beards has significantly increased in the U.S. The recent massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin is a prime example. The PSA is aimed to briefly impart critical information about Sikhs and their culture to educate the public. The PSA may be broadcast royalty-free in perpetuity by anyone around the world. The Sikh PSA editors are Matthew Blake (BFA/Film Prod.), Casey Acaster (BFA/TBJ) and Nathan Mills (BFA/Screenwriting).
The schedule of events for Saturday and Sunday includes special film clusters and programs focusing on igniting passion, creating discussion, and inspiring new ideas and art. Among other activities, there will be a youth-focused film and book panel of Sikh artists telling their stories and exhibiting their talents, a “Creative Sikhs” spotlight, and a panel focused on the discussion of social issues affecting the Sikh community. Concluding the Festival will be the inaugural Sikhlens Showcase featuring Sikh musicians, performers and artists coming together for a never-before-seen performance concert.

Ticket pricing, and more information on Sikhlens and the annual Sikh Arts and Film Festival (SAFF), is available at

Dawn Bonker

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