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Yearly Archives

2005

Labor of Birth

It is Christmas Eve in the world. I am at home with my family after many months. I finally have a moment to reflect. Since September, I have lived a split life. On weekdays, I am in Boston keeping up appearances as a graduate student at Harvard Divinity, and on weekends, I am a filmmaker in Los Angeles, working in a tiny editing room on our documentary. We are in the final phase of Divided We Fall, shaping our two-hour rough cut into a polished completed film to be released in early 2006. This last phase has been more difficult […]

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Sneak Preview, California

Today, California’s first Spinning Wheel Film Festival was held in Orange County, California. On the eve of the festival, the Sikh Center of Orange County held a gala banquet and organizer Bicky Singh invited us to offer a SNEAK PREVIEW of Divided We Fall. Our director/editor/producer extraordinaire Sharat Raju cut together a brand-new seven-minute trailer, weaving together voices and faces from the film with music from the film’s original score created by composer Sagar Jethani. (The sneak preview will be featured on the film’s official website at the end of January.) After a night of bhangra performances, slide shows, and […]

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First Draft at Harvard

Today Dr. Diana Eck and the Harvard Pluralism Project hosted a screening of the rough cut of the documentary at Harvard University (pictured above). We first screened the rough cut to a Sikh audience at the Spinning Wheel Film Festival in Toronto. This screening would be different. At an invitation-only event, we gathered classmates, friends, professors, and staff at Harvard to watch the cut and offer feedback. When introducing the film, looking out into a sea of faces, I became nervous. Who in their right mind would show the first draft of their paper to all their colleagues at once? […]

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Spinning Wheel in Toronto

Since finishing production at the end of August, the team has been slaving away in the editing room in Los Angeles. Director Sharat Raju is co-editing the film with Scott Rosenblatt. Sheepishly, I had to return to school in Boston (for my masters program at Harvard Divinity), but I’ve been flying back to LA almost every weekend to witness their amazing post-production speed to meet our first deadline: this weekend. The dynamic-duo worked around the clock for four weeks in order to turn 130 hours of footage into a 2-hour rough cut. This weekend, we premiered our rough cut before […]

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The East Valley Tribune

To commemorate the four-year anniversary of the murder of Balbir Sodhi, Arizona’s East Valley Tribune ran a front page article about his story and our film Divided We Fall. Sikhs Still Living in the Shadow of Sept. 11. Nick Martin On a Saturday in 2001, less than two weeks after the S ept. 11 terrorist attacks, thousands gathered at Phoenix Civic Plaza to honor a man most had never met. (Gaurav Singh, a relative of Balbir Singh Sodhi, kneels by a memorial outside the Mesa Star Convenience store where Sodhi was shot and killed in September 2001. Photo by Tim […]

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Four Years Ago Today

Four years ago today, BALBIR SINGH SODHI was murdered in front of his gas station in Mesa, Arizona. His murderer Frank Roque yelled upon arrest, “I am a patriot.” Sodhi (pictured) was the first person of as many as nineteen people killed in the thousands of hate crimes that followed 9/11. This summer, I have traveled across the country to meet with families in targeted communities to find out how much has changed. Although numbers have fallen, there are continued reports of vandalism, beatings, and shootings. Perhaps most troubling is the way that subtle prejudices have become a daily part […]

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Last Day of Production

Today was the final day of our summer film production. We spent the day filming b-roll (images of people and places) around our nation’s capital, and then we ended our summer journey with a celebration dinner. And yes, even a shameless dance of joy. Today’s pictures speak louder than words, so I invite you to glimpse moments from our day– and our joy at the day’s end! We began at the Lincoln Memorial, and then we drove our van to the White House, where we were met with secret service agents. They kindly showed us to our own parking spot […]

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In Defense of Democracy

August, 26-2005- Today was our very last day of interviews. It was only appropriate that our final two interviewees held opposing positions on how to defend American democracy in the post-9/11 era: one believes that we need to target undocumented immigrants and use racial profiling in security searches, and the other believes that such state policies are a form of public violence that encourage private hate violence. Both were intriguing. We first interviewed CLIFFORD MAY (pictured below), President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He is also Chairman of the Policy Committee of the Committee on the Present […]

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Best and Worst of America

Today we interviewed SHER SINGH (pictured) who was arrested on September 12, 2001 as the first suspected terrorist after the 9/11 attacks. He was riding a Boston-bound train when it stopped in Providence, Rhode Island. He was wearing a turban and kirpan, both articles of Sikh faith. His ‘suspicious’ appearance had caught the attention of the FBI who sent federal agents and local police with bomb-sniffing dogs to the station to intercept him. Officers rushed the entrance of the train and pointed rifles at the man: “Get your f— hands up.” They pulled him out of the train at gunpoint […]

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Racial Profiling and James Oddo

After the London bombings, the debate on racial profiling was everywhere, on television and in newspapers. As the film crew and I traveled around the country, interviewing victims of prejudice and profiling, two New York legislators announced an upcoming bill that “called for racial profiling” on subways. While this announcement was met with signs of protest (like that pictured), it still gave me chills. I saw the way that racial profiling – in airports and on the streets – had damaged entire communities. How could they fail to recognize these costs? So I decided to ask. We called New York […]

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