SIKH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2009: DOCUMENTARY
A Warrior's Religion
Director/Producer: Mani Amar
The idea for the documentary, “A Warrior’s Religion”, had been germinating Mani Amar’s mind for the past three years. Growing up in a small town on Vancouver Island, he was insulated from many of the problems that had shaken the South Asian community in the Greater Vancouver area; he is now familiar with the epidemic proportions of South Asian youth violence. Grim statistics, such as the death of over 100 South Asian males in their 20s over the last 19 years, led him to pursue his idea.
The documentary is poetic in nature and told in the manner of an unbiased editorial. It features interviews with community leaders, media personalities, and other prominent figures in the South Asian community, along with historical references, news footage, crime statistics, South Asian youth interviews, and cultural comparisons.
Mani’s goal is to bring awareness to anyone who has misconceptions about this culture, including those within the South Asian community itself. Though strong references are made toward Sikhism, this documentary will relate its issues to other cultures and communities as well.
Sikhism is a predominant religion in the South Asian community in Greater Vancouver, and statistics show that most of the gang‐related murder victims were Sikh. Mani believes awareness is most needed within this group. As a Sikh, he is able to use his own knowledge and personal experiences to communicate this awareness.
Violent crimes have increased significantly in this community over the last few years. The community chooses to live behind the walls of ignorance and denial. It is time to break down those walls to create much needed acceptance and awareness. Bringing change to this cultural minority is just the start. We need to shed awareness amongst all cultural groups before youth and gang violence is inherited by future generations.
Mani Amar is a film director, poet, artist, and an aspiring actor. From a very young age, he was obsessed with films. Often watching the same film many times, he would memorize specific parts of the movie and act them out for friends and family. Mani became a natural for impromptu skits or just bursts of much needed comedic relief. Teachers often remember him for his energy and ability to make the classroom a fun environment.
His strong beliefs in activism for environment & sustainability, poverty abolishment, and human rights made him pursue a film directing career. Mani wanted to create documentaries and films that evoke audiences’ emotions and create public awareness. In 2006, preproduction and filming began on “A Warrior’s Religion,” a poetic documentary on the epidemic issue of South Asian Gang Violence in the Greater Vancouver Area. Also, Mani is published in national poetic anthologies and is an award‐winning graphics artist.