Did you enjoy watching this year’s SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival? We definitely did! Thousands of you tuned in to watch the movies, like your favorite films and share your comments. Your voice became one of the judges during this year’s SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival. We thank you so much for your involvement and participation.
And now, the winners are…
$500 Cash Award
Kada, ‘The Gesture of Obeisance’ directed by Harjapjeet Singh Uppal, age 16, of Moga, Punjab, India. Kada tells a story of corruption versus true spiritual longing within the Sikh community of Punjab. It reminds us that the power of the Guru still continues to touch the hearts of the downtrodden.
Basketball Singh by Amrita Basin, age 13, of California, USA. Can Sikhs wear turbans to play basketball? How do young teenage Sikhs help educate their school mates about the Sikh faith and traditions? Amrita does a wonderful job, as a 13 year old filmmaker, highlighting these issues with a simple story. Thanks for a heart-felt movie.
Make Us Laugh: $1,000 Cash Award
Uncommon Courage of the Kaur directed by Pardeep Singh, age 25, Mohali, Punjab, India. Far and away the most popular film of the festival, Uncommon Courage of the Kaur did something we at SikhNet had never seen before. It went viral almost immediately, logging over 20,000 views on YouTube in the first five days. Although this is not a comedy film, Uncommon Courage of the Kaur made us laugh in that spiritual warrior, Chardi Kala way. Congratulations to Pardeep Singh and his team for taking a well-known social media piece and turning it on its head in true Khalsa fashion.
Champu Unknown directed by Raj Angad Singh, age 22, from Chandigarh, India. Raj Angad Singh is developing his own unique approach to Sikh comedy that is spiritual and satirical at the same time. He gently pokes fun at the “gangsta” subculture in the Sikh community, and then turns the theme on its head with a spiritual epiphany at the end. Who ever thought of a school where a Sikh could go to learn to be a “Don” – in good old Mafia style? Congratulations on your original and adventurous film.
Make Us Cry: $1,000 Cash Award
Simran of Courage directed by Sukhmanjot Singh, age 22, from Jalandhar, Punjab, India. Inspired by a true story, this touching film displays the worldly challenges that a young Sikh man faces, even while his deeply devoted mother tries to guide him through life and in death. Beautifully shot, with gorgeous kirtan at the end, this film was another of the popular favorites of the SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival. Congratulations to Sukhmanjot Singh by showing the real heart of love in a Sikh family.
Daswandh directed by Ashmeet Singh, age 21, from New Delhi, India. This film wonderfully depicts the core Sikh values of working hard and sharing what you have with others, while tackling the tensions between a loving father and a misguided son. Daswandh wonderfully illustrates what happens to the heart when we discover the joys of giving. Congratulations for a film that shows the true power of Daswandh. Another popular favorite.
Make Us Think: $1,000 Cash Award
A Dress/Address directed by Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, age 20, Wellard, Australia. This video-poem makes you think, and question your assumptions, in language that every young Kaur can understand. And isn’t that what Guru Nanak did – shared poetry and song to turn the social standards of the day on their heads? Sukhjit Kaur gives voice to some critically important issues for Kaurs today, and does so tongue-in-cheek, with a smile and grace. Congratulations for a film that made us really think.
Raahi – The Traveller directed by Jot Singh Baaz, age 24, from Ontario, Canada. The Sikh youth of today struggle between the pressure to succeed in the modern world, and their longing to keep the Sikh Saroop. This wonderful film captures this struggle, as depicted among college students searching to find their way in life. It gives a positive message about the power of Wahe Guru to surmount any obstacle. The film ends with a beautiful original poem by Baaz, in the spirit of classical, devotional expressionism. Congratulations on a thoughtful, moving film. Another popular favorite.
Special Honor: Artistic Excellence
Nirvair directed by Pankaj Bhambri, age 21, from Amritsar, Punjab, India. This exquisitely animated movie deserves a special mention. It highlights the pain and eventual healing of a young Sikh woman during and after the events of 1984. The animation is above and beyond anything we have seen in the SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival before. Congratulations on an amazing animated short film.
Senior Category: Winner
Green Sparks co-directed by Satdeep Singh and Jatinderpal Singh, from New Delhi, India. This year, SikhNet welcomes Satdeep Singh back as a participant in the SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival, but now as a “Senior” film-maker. There are few issues as important today as the destruction of the natural environment. Jatinderpal Singh and Satdeep Singh who live in New Delhi, the most polluted city in the world, tackle this issue with compassion. They highlight those who are doing good work to restore the environment In India. And they connect the heart of Sikhi with environmental awareness. This is a personal documentary to awaken the “Green Spark” in all of us. Congratulations on a great film to raise the consciousness of the Sikh community.
A HUGE thanks to all of the directors, the casts and crews of these wonderful, thoughtful Sikh films. You have made a terrific contribution to the voice of Sikh media. SikhNet is continually impressed by how many people, how much thoughts, care and effort goes into each of these movies. If you have not watched all of the submission, please take the time. We know that every single one of these films will be watched for years to come.
In truth, every film is a winner.