Sat Nam, Sat Sri Akal,

Hari Mitar Khalsa (27K)Hari Mitar Singh it is nice to speak with you. We're here to talk about your new project but first I wanted to ask you about your background. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Sat Nam and Sat Sri Akal Harijot, thank you for taking the time to interview me. I was born and raised as a Sikh in the United States. My parents converted to Sikhism back in the 1970’s. I studied at Miri Piri Academy, a Sikh and yogic based boarding in Amritsar, India for my high school education and then returned to the U.S where I graduated from The Film School at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

What was it about filming that made you want to make your career in the field?

I believe that storytelling is an amazing tool to create change in our society and change within ourselves. I magined becoming a writer when I was in boarding school, but then I imagined myself sitting at a desk all day every day and realized it wasn’t for me. Filmmaking seemed like a great way to pursue my passion for storytelling out in the world in collaboration with people who share my passion.

What other projects have you made?

I had the privilege to collaborate with Sikhnet on the animated short film KAUR. It was a very rewarding experience seeing Sikhs from all around the world enjoying and being inspired by the film with their kids.

Tell us about your next project. What was the motivation behind 'Eyes on Unity'?

Eyes on Unity is a short fictional film about how misplaced fear inspires hate and violence against Sikhs n the United States. I was moved to write the script for this film after I read a news article about a Sikh man named Balmeet Singh who was assaulted in a public place by a man who called him a terrorist. Fortunately, Balmeet came out of this confrontation physically unharmed, but he has been one of the ucky ones. Assaults on Sikhs have been alarmingly common in our post 9/11 United States. Many Sikhs have been injured and some have been killed in hate crimes across the U.S.

What stood out to me with Balmeet's story was not the attack itself but the reaction of those around him. What stuck with me after reading it was that even though he was in a public space, no one stood up to defend him. In his own community of Bakersfield California, no one helped him. Why was that? Were people afraid? Did people agree with his attacker and feel that he deserved the abuse? In the process of writing this script another question began to arise for me. Who was his attacker? It was easy to imagine him as a one-sided villain in this story, but what causes someone to hold so much hate for someone he doesn't even know? These are the questions I will explore in this film.

Why is this film especially important today?

In the wake of our recent election and the Brexit decision made in the U.K, we can no longer deny that there is a great division in our society. There are many people who are painfully dissatisfied with the status quo on all sides. Each side points to different reasons for this unrest and there is a lot of disagreement. It is easy to label the people with differing views from ours as being “bad” but I believe that these labels are partly to blame for this great divide. No one feels that their voices are being heard and there is a lack of empathy on both sides of the conflict. Films are an amazing tool for inspiring empathy and so I saw an opportunity to make a difference.

How can our audience support this film?

I have started a crowd funding campaign on I am trying to raise $4,000 to create this film. We are half way there, but we still need help to make this idea a reality! If you donate there are some great perks for you including a digital download of the film once it is complete and your name in the credits.

Check out the campaign here: Eyes on Unity Project

We all know that there must be more Sikh films to spread awareness of who we are, especially in these difficult times, so we are grateful for artists like yourself for getting out there and making it happen. Thank you, and I hope your project is a success.

Thank you so much for your support, it really means a lot!
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

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