SOURCE: Sikh Arts & Film Foundation

Sikh Arts & Film Foundation

September 11, 2009 09:18 ET

Sikh International Film Festival 2009 -- Turbanology New York Style!

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - September 11, 2009) - The Sikh Community is identifiable by their colorful turbans that can be seen in every borough of the modern world capital -- New York City. Sikh turbans have taken on a new meaning in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. Many people mistook Sikhs for terrorists because of their turban and as a result, they have been victims of hate crimes. This emanated the need for an organization to educate New Yorkers about Sikhs and also help them assimilate into the Western society.

The Sikh Arts and Film Foundation has stepped forward to represent this cause. It was established six years ago with a mission to promote better understanding of Sikh heritage, arts and culture, as well as the contributions of Sikhs in American society.

Every year the organization celebrates the rich heritage, traditions and culture of Sikhs and the South East Asian immigrant experience through a diverse mix of Independent Documentary and Short Films at the Sikh International Film Festival 2009 September 18-19, at the Asia Society.

-- 1984 and the Via Dolorosa Project and My Mother India is at the outset of the Feature Session on Friday, September 18 to mark 25 years of genocide in India when thousands of innocent Sikhs were killed in the aftermath of assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

-- This emotionally charged Session ends on an upbeat note with the World Premiere of Flying Sikhs: A History of Sikh Fighter Pilots which provides an intimate portrait of the valiant Sikh pilots contribution towards the Allies victories in WWI and WWII.

-- The Documentary Session on Saturday, September 19 explores the topic of urban gang violence in A Warrior's Religion.

-- The enchanting History of turban -- from ancient Christianity to modern day Sikhs -- is essayed in the US Premiere of Turbanology. This powerful documentary explores the impact of the war on terrorism and western society's reaction to a humble article of faith -- the turban.

The Sikh Heritage Gala, a formal black-tie event at Cipriani Wall Street, concludes the Film Festival. Acclaimed film-director and producer Mira Nair is the Guest of Honor for this evening of dance performance, art auction, and live entertainment accentuated by Bhangra pioneers RDB from the UK.

Dr. Paul Johar, Film Festival Chair, explained, "The primary goal of the films we show is to hold a mirror not only for Sikhs but to an audience worldwide. We have a diverse set of films, and encourage film makers with our support every year by awarding $15,000 in prize money!"

The winners in the Documentary and Short Films will be selected by a notable panel of judges including Dr. Sarab Singh Neelam - Director of Ocean of Pearls, Sabrina Dhawan - Writer of Monsoon Wedding, and Vicki Mabrey - Correspondent for ABC News Nightline.

Since 2008, Governor - David A. Paterson has issued a proclamation declaring the Sikh International Film Festival dates as Sikh Heritage Week, in recognition of the Sikh Art & Film Foundation's efforts to promote cultural diversity in New York.

Complete Schedule, Film Details and Tickets at www.sikharts.com.

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