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The Red Carpet at the Sikhlens: Sikh Arts & Film Festival will once again be held at Chapman
The Red Carpet at the Sikhlens: Sikh Arts & Film Festival will once again be held at Chapman University in Orange, CA. The festival opens on Friday, November 17th at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts’ Folino Theater. Sumita Batra will host the evening. Dean Stephen Galloway will welcome the audience and Harjinder Sandhu will discuss AI and Films. Vishavjit Singh will introduce his new animated film American Sikh. We will also screen the Project Pakistan film Connecting the Dots. Our feature film Sarabha-Cry for Freedom culminates this exciting evening.
Website: Dodge College – Chapman University
Dress Code: Indian formal Maharaja and Maharani Attire; Western Formal; Dress to impress.
Location (Friday Night Only):
Dodge College of Film and Media Arts Folino Theater – Chapman University
283 N. Cypress St.
Orange, CA 92866
Red Carpet Night Host: Sumita Batra
Born in England to Sikh parents from Iran, Sumita Batra spent her youth migrating between India, England, and Iran. At 16, her family settled in the United States, working tirelessly to establish stability in their new home. When Batra’s mother opened Ziba Beauty in 1987, she became the company’s spokesperson, producing events and tradeshows that fueled growth.
Under Batra’s leadership, Ziba Beauty blossomed into chic studios in major California malls, sparking a global henna trend. As a renowned henna artist, she adorned A-List celebrities for magazine shoots and music videos. In 1998, Batra became Ziba’s CEO, partnering to distribute branded kits globally.
A prolific author and entrepreneur, Batra penned “The Art of Mehndi” in 1999 and launched Sumita Cosmetics, expanding to 22 countries before selling to her partners in 2017. Undeterred by COVID-19, Batra recently co-founded The Pro Safety Group, producing a 2021 Virtual Summit on beauty industry safety. She also works with a COVID Consortium providing testing kits worldwide, illustrating her tireless ingenuity.
Welcome Message by Dean Stephen Galloway
Stephen Galloway joined Chapman University in 2020 as the Twyla Reed Martin Dean of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Previously, he served as executive editor and producer at The Hollywood Reporter for almost 30 years.
Galloway created and produced acclaimed series including “The Hollywood Masters” and “Close Up with The Hollywood Reporter.” A graduate of Cambridge University and the American Film Institute’s Conservatory, he has worked extensively in film and television in the U.S. and France.
Over the past decade, Galloway championed diversity initiatives in entertainment. He launched The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program, pairing disadvantaged high school students with top women in film and TV. The award-winning program has served over 250 teenagers who have gone on to college, aided by over $10 million in scholarships raised under Galloway’s leadership.
As Dean, Galloway brings a wealth of industry experience and a commitment to opening doors for the next generation of diverse storytellers. His visionary leadership will guide Dodge College into an ever more inclusive future.
Harjinder Sandhu is currently the CTO of Health and Life Sciences Solutions and Platforms at Microsoft. He obtained his Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Toronto and was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at York University. Sandhu is also an experienced entrepreneur, having co-founded three successful AI startups focused on healthcare, and was the CEO of Saykara, an AI medical scribe solution acquired by Microsoft/Nuance in 2021.
AI and Films
Renowned technologist Harjinder Sandhu will give an intriguing talk on the coming age of generative image and video generation and its impact on filmmaking.
Specifically, he will explain what this technology is, how advanced it is today, the opportunities and challenges it presents for using it in film production, and critical issues surrounding its use. Sandhu’s illuminating glimpse into the AI-enabled future of film promises to be a highlight of the Red Carpet Opening Night.
The films to be screened on Friday include:
Eight years after the Project S film Red, White and Beard Chapman film graduate Ryan Westra collaborates with the subject of the film Vishavjit Singh in the making of an animated film American Sikh is the true and unlikely story of an American born, turban-wearing Sikh man, Vishavjit Singh, who after a lifetime of facing prejudice, self-doubt and violence, finally finds acceptance in a superhero costume.
Connecting the Dots
The documentary Connecting the Dots follows Rubab Chishti, a young architect passionately changing historic conservation in Pakistan. It showcases her dedication to restoring the 190-year-old Gurdwara Choa Sahab, an abandoned Gurudwara within the Rohtas Fort. Since 1947, this pioneering project marks the first proper Gurudwara conservation effort in Pakistan. We witness Chishti challenging longstanding traditions of superficial restoration. Through preserving cultural touchstones like Choa Sahab, she connects the dots between past and future, dedicating herself to saving Pakistan’s living heritage.
Sarabha-Cry for Freedom
Sarabha-Cry for Freedom illuminates the historic saga of Kartar Singh Sarabha, a legendary icon of the Gadri Babae movement. This film delves into captivating tales interwoven with century-old swords and the intrepid spirit of Gadri Babae. Sarabha chronicles Kartar’s valor and selfless sacrifice in the struggle for freedom, justice and dignity. His inspirational life emerged as a clarion call for an awakening, shaping countless destinies.
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(Friday) 7:00 pm - 10:30 pm