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Sikh Arts & Film Festival 2011- A Great Success at Los Angeles

Los Angeles, Nov. 23., 2011
Gary Singh/ Karen/Bandana Singh,
Bicky Singh, Anudeep Singh

The Sikh Arts & Film Festival was held on November 18-20, 2011at the state of art Dodge College of Film and media Arts, Chapman University in Orange, California and was attended around 600- 650 people. According to management, both evening events were also sold out. Sikh Lens was created to provide a unique venue for artists to present their Sikh centric films, art, and music to the broader community with the intent of showcasing their talents and generating increased Sikh awareness.


Nov 18, 2011:

  • On Friday, the Festival began with a red-carpet "Opening Night Gala Event" under glittering colorful shamiana at the enterence. Guests were greeted with a melodious musical interlude by Jaswinder Ahluwalia (tabla) & Kamaljit Ajmal (Santoor), and then welcomed to the festival by Co-Chairs Ravin Kaur Kohli and Tina Kaur Anand, who introduced the Festival with a series of opening night films, live entertainment, and the premiere of the 2012 SikhPoint Calendar with original artwork by the world renowned Singh Twins, Amrita and Rabindera.
  • The Dean of Dodge College, Mr. Robert Basset addressed the audience, and introduced the 2012 Sikhlens Scholorships.

  • Sikhlens’ Partners in Progress award was given to CNN and National Geographic Documentarian, Professor Jeff Swimmer.
  • Guru Singh from the NBC’s Outsourced co-emceed the evening’s events alongside Ms. Kohli.  Several special attendees were in attendance, including living legend Fauja Singh, the 100-year marathon runner.  A notable quote from the Guest of Honor himself, “Don’t simply say I am your inspiration. Turn that inspiration into action.” Orange County’s Chief Sandar Hutchens addressed, prior to a video montage of Sikhlens’ partner Sikh organizations (including SALDEF, Sikh Coalition, United Sikhs and Jakara.) Films for the evening included the West Coast Premiere of A Little Revolution, and the World Premiere of Humble the Poet.
  • Youtube comedic sensation Jus Reign (Jasmeet Singh) and the talented young prodigy “Violinder” Raginder Singh Momi entertained the crowd which lead to thunderous applause. Guests were also able to view various pieces of Sikh artwork that were displayed throughout Dodge College’s main lobby.  The evening concluded with book and calender signings, and a delectable dessert and dance reception.

Nov 19, 2011

  • On Saturday, the program started with the incredible Youth focused cluster which included an on-stage singalong to children’s book Ik Chota Bacha, an impressive live play The Royal Falcon Musical, a series of short films and a book reading of My First Sikh Books.
  •  This cluster was followed by Part 1 of the Creative Sikhs! panel, in which several Sikh artists were able to showcase their art as well as answer questions from the audience.  
  • Hip-hop artist Mandeep Sethi, Gurmeet Sodhi of the TV Show “GS with GS,” tabla player Jaswinder Ahluwalia,  Charenjeet Singh (Musician and Composer) and Kamaljeet Ajimal were just some of the amazing talent that wowed the audience on Saturday afternoon.
  • Following the Creative Sikhs panel, the Festival showed a series of short films, both narrative and documentary, that ranged in topic from religious identity to social service.
  • The evening began with a red carpet event for the cast and crew of Breakaway.  The producer, Ajay Virmani, as well as actors Vinay Virmani, Camilla Belle, Noureen DeWulf and Rupinder Magon were all in attendance at the event and participated in a question and answer session following the film moderated by Ravin Kaur Kohli and Professor Jeff Swimmer.  The evening concluded with a dessert reception, where Festival attendees danced to the latest and best of DJ NFP, and live performances by some festival artists.

Nov 20, 2011:

  • On Sunday, the program started with three clusters. began with a Sikhs Around the World cluster, showcasing short films and authors from all over the world, including the US Debut of Khushwant Singh’s Turbaned Tornado, a biography on Fauja Singh.
  • Social Issues Pane focused on women’s rights and gender equality.
  • The program was ended with the second Creative Sikhs cluster- comedian Jus Reign, legendary marathoner Fauja Singh and his trainer Harmandar Singh, Music Producer Tej Gill and Actress Agam Darshi, which was moderated by Gurmeet Sodhi.

This festival is a premiere venue to highlight social issues, recognize talent, and watch the harmony between the Sikh faith and the external cultures. They have collected over 17 fantastic musical, short and feature films to showcase for the community this year. Apart from the amazing films, this year’s festival including two live readings, and three book launches.

The following Creative NRIs who participate in this event:

Welcomed to the festival by Co-Chairs Ravin Kaur Kohli and Tina Kaur Anand

Fauja Singh,100-year-old, is a British marathon runner of Sikh origin. He has successfully completed numerous marathons and has set many world records. Mr. Singh has been sponsored by Adidas and has been featured in advertisements alongside David Beckham and Muhammad Ali's daughter Laila Ali. Fauja Singh served as the evening's chief guest

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Harmandar Singh:a local magistrate:

Fauja Singh's translator and coach Harmandar Singh ''Running has given him a new focus in life''. A 100-year-old Briton has become the world's oldest marathon runner after finishing a race in Canada.

Singh Twins Artist: London born twin sisters Amrit and Rabindra, who work as one, mix the personal and the political, pollution and Power Rangers, in their vivid paintings. In 2010, they showed 27 of their paintings at the National Portrait Gallery as part of an exhibition of Indian miniature portraits. With paintings in private and public collections world wide the Singh Twins continue to be invited to speak on their work at institutions such as the Tate Gallery, London; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; The National Museum of Modern Art in Delhi and Mumbai; the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

Guru Singh: Born in Spring Branch, Texas. Guru played the part of an Indian call-center employee in the new NBC show, Outsourced. He was raised by loving grandparents in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. He was graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Acting and a Bachelors in Business Administration in MIS from the University of Houston.

He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Gurmeet K. Sodhi: is a television host; producer and one of the youngest South Asian females to launch her own LIVE talk show - GS with GS. She is one of the most influential woman in the South Asian Media community when she recently won the "World Sikh Awards" in London for "Sikhs in Entertainment" category. On June 22, 2011, she attended special reception at the White House for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community which was hosted by President Barack Obama. She interviewed Ms. Ahuja– the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for her viewers.

Agam Darshi (Canadian actress based in Los Angeles and Vancouver): She has been nominated for various awards including two Constellation Awards and a Canadian Comedy Award.

She is also an environmentalist and co-founder of the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival. Now she is working in the sci-fi show.

Jasmeet Singh - also known as Jus Reign , is a young and talented Sikh comedian from of Guelph, Ontario, Canada who started his career on youtube at the age of 19 years old.

He is specializes in creating web content such as comedic skits, parodies, and re-enactments of every day life in forms of online video

Tej Gill

Tej Gill is extremely talented DJ/Producer. He composes music combining styles from India with various styles from the west.

Starting his musical career as a DJ and moving on to promotion and event planning, Gill now offers a variety of services including music production, licensing, remixing, as well as consulting under his Gillometer Music label. His recent projects include composing music for "Ik Chota Bacha" and Charenjeet's album "Jogi".

Raginder Momi: Also known as "Violinder" is an up and coming musical artist from the San Francisco Bay Area. Playing the violin since he was 11 years old, he has mastered the ability to sweep his audience off their feet effortlessly. Blending diverse genres of music from Hip Hop to classical Indian to Bollywood tunes, Raginder is able to reach audiences of various backgrounds.
Kamaljit Ajmal (Santoor): only female santoor player at her level. She is a British based multi-talented artist. The tutelage offered by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma which she sought for in Mumbai in 2002, helped her flourish better which is further polished now by Harjinderpal Singh, who resides in England. She owns the honour of being invited to perform in the international youth world music festival which took place in France where she was exposed to a surfeit of different musical tastes.With the pride of having attended many music festivals she won the AMC scholarship from which she has benefited in the continuance of her music training on entering the Croyden Music Festival.
Mandeep Sethi ( LA native hip hop emcee): He has performed alongside and shared the stage with musical luminaries such as Ziggy Marley, Afrika Bambaataa, and Dilated Peoples.

Charenjeet, CJ Virdi: A singer, songwriter and recording artist. He has received numerous awards in India including- Best Singer of the year, (Delhi 92-93), Mohd Rafi Award (Amritsar), Sangam Kala Award, Best Singer of Delhi University.

He is the only indian soul to work with hollywoods top grammy award winners and nominated music directors like Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe, John Henry, Kike Santander etc etc..... MORE