Following the end of the British rule of India in 1947, the Sikh community was caught up in a conflict of a 'two nation' split of the sub-continent. It forced them to abandon their homes, leaving behind numerous gurdwaras (places of worship), historic forts, havelis (private mansions) and monuments attesting to a once flourishing Sikh Empire. Amardeep Singh decided to visit these important and sacred sites, embarking on a month-long journey into 36 cities & villages in Pakistan in 2014. The discoveries made on this journey inspired him to continue to explore his forebears’ history.
Empire: The Maharaja Returns retraces the steps of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Khalsa Raj in the 19th century. Ranjit Singh nearly died from smallpox at age 6. Fought in his first battle at age 10. At age 17 he defended Panjab from the Afghan invasion. At 21 he would become the first Maharaja (King) of the Sikh Empire in Lahore. While exploring moments in history that inspired this great ruler to govern with a key tenant, that all men and women are created equal regardless of caste or creed.
Sikh Formaggio explores the bridging of two cultures whose similarities and differences merge for the betterment of each other. Immigrating from India to Italy, in search of jobs familiar to their agricultural roots, the Sikhs find work within the Italian’s struggling Parmesan cheese industry. As the Sikhs attempt to keep their culture and traditions strong in their new home, they are also helping to preserve a piece of Italy’s culture— the art of making Parmesan cheese. This is not one individual’s story, but a community of voices and how the tradition of making cheese plays a role in all of their lives.
Singh in the Lion City is a documentary about a Singaporean Sikh man's personal quest to decode his cultural identity. This sets him on a journey of self-discovery along a shared heritage trail which he encapsulates and celebrates via the creation of an app. This film touches on wider themes of home, diaspora and heritage.
The Royal Women Association tells the story of a group of Sikh women in Calgary who have banded together to overcome the isolation and loneliness so common among older members of their community. The women break out of their shells and overcome their demons by sharing songs, poetry, food, and laughter at the group’s monthly meetings. As they plan an event that calls attention to domestic violence in the community, one member, Sarbjit, tries to come to terms with the trauma of her own past.
At the heart of Bhai Baldeep Singh’s documentary film, Sikh Kīrtan Maryādā, is a deceptively simple question about a core element of Sikh praxis: what is kīrtan? It is the question the filmmaker has devoted the better part of three decades to answering, and through his documentary, the viewer is offered a rare glimpse into the understandings of the leading Sikh musicians and intellectuals in the final decade of the twentieth century.
Film list is subject to change without notice.