Divided We Fall

I blink. There are one thousand people in the audience, but the stage lights blind me, and all I can make out is the roar of applause coming from a dark moving sea of people. This is our largest audience yet, and they are giving us a standing ovation. I send a smile of gratitude over to our host Angela Rola, Director of the Asian American Cultural Center at the University of Connecticut. Sharat and I take a deep breath and then the Q&A begins. “My grandparents are

On all sides, endless white snow. The snow-draped trees stretch to the horizon as far as I can see outside my car window. I have never driven through New England in February, and now Sharat Raju and I make our way between snow falls to Dartmouth College for Divided We Fall’s New Hampshire premiere. The road is long and the winter is breathtaking. Somewhere nestled in the snow, we find the small town of Hanover. A population of 6,000 people, the town’s Main Street is one block long.

I am blinking in the stage lights. I can barely make out the faces of the nearly 400 people who have filled the plush red seats of the enormous theater. There are tiny beams of light in the back of the theater - ushers dressed in black and white attire using flashlights to show people to their seats. I take a deep breath and welcome everyone to the Stockton premiere of Divided We Fall at San Joaquin Delta College in our most elegant venue yet. Delta College is

This week, I came home. On Sunday night, we screened Divided We Fall at Stanford University and then crossed the San Francisco Bay on Wednesday night for a screening at UC Berkeley. Although these two schools are divided by the bay, not to mention decades of rivalry, I crossed the bridge between them more times than I can remember as a college student: my weekdays were spent on the sun-drenched Stanford campus (pictured) and my weekends in the down-to-earth streets and cafes of Berkeley. Nearly four years after

The doors of the classroom swing open and thirty middle school kids tumble in, talking, giggling, tugging at each other, bouncing with energy.I am nervous. Divided We Fall has never been shown to junior high school students – we had aimed the film for colleges and high schools, but when the Fayerweather Street School invited me to teach their seventh and eighth grade class for a day, I was curious. I've planned to show the movie in the morning and discuss in the afternoon. Now, standing in the back

Sometimes magic happens. Last fall, through a series of coincidences, I met a woman named Valerie Courville. “My name is inside your name!” I told her. We took it as a sign. Valerie (pictured) introduced me to her 9 year-old son Dylan, an old soul with light in his eyes. They both grew close to my heart. It wasn't long before they offered to bring Divided We Fall to Dylan’s school – the Fayerweather Street School in Cambridge, a private pre-K to 8 school that focuses on

The view from the seventh floor is dazzling – sunset behind the Washington Memorial, water shimmering around Jefferson, city lights coming alive. I am looking out from the City View Room in a building at George Washington University, where we are about to hold the DC premiere of Divided We Fall, our last screening of the calendar year, hosted by the GW Sikh Student Association and the Smithsonion Asian Pacific American Program. I have a moment to take in the view before it all begins. I spot the

Lieutenant Governor CRUZ BUSTAMANTE hosted the formal California premiere of Divided We Fall a few steps away from our state capitol tonight. Beneath the great dome of the Secretary of State building, hundreds of people mingled, holding plates of Indian food, waiting for the doors to open for the premiere. The Lieutenant Governor came to welcome us and express his excitement about the film. (Spot us in the crowd

It was like coming home. Our San Francisco premiere at the Third I Film Festival was our first screening in California, and looking out into the packed audience in the city’s famous Roxie Theater, I was overwhelmed by the image of my parents, cousins, friends, professors, interviewees, and strangers standing up together to applaud our film at the end. It was our fifth standing ovation – and the tears couldn’t help but come. We had just flown through the night from Miami the night before to make our

Unlike most Sikh Americans my age, I never spent my summers at Sikh camps as a kid or attended Sikh youth conferences when I got older. As a third-generation Sikh American (my family has lived on the same plot of California farmland for nearly a hundred years), I had a very American name and couldn’t speak Punjabi well. So I grew up on the edges of the Sikh community. I always felt like an outsider – until I began the journey to make this film five years