SAFF 2021 Red Carpet Night

19nov7:00 pm10:00 pmSAFF 2021 Red Carpet NightFriday, November 19, 2021 | 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM PST

Event Details

The Red Carpet at Sikhlens: Sikh Arts & Film Festival will be virtual again this year. On Friday, November 19th we will screen three “Destination S” films, followed by a Q & A session. Sumita Batra will host the event and Dean Stephen Galloway will welcome the audience. Our keynote speakers for the evening will be Valarie Kaur and Harmeet Kaur.

All events are held virtually at:

Direct Event Link:

Access to this content will only be available during the allotted time slot.

Sumita Batra

Friday Host: Sumita Batra

Born in Greenwich, England, and raised by Sikh parents that were born in Iran, Sumita Batra grew up migrating between India, England, and Iran. She moved to the United States when she was 16. Her family struggled and worked hard to create stability in a new country. When her mother decided to open Ziba Beauty in 1987, Sumita became the spokesperson for the business. Batra produced events, and tradeshows to help grow the business. She polished Ziba beauty and opened chic studios in major malls across California and a global trend was born. A slew of major Hollywood celebrities hired Batra and Ziba Beauty to create henna, and body art for music videos and magazine shoots. As a henna artist, she has worked on A-List celebrities such as Beyoncé, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, and many more. She became the CEO in 1998 and partnered with an international distributor to create and market kits for brands like The Body Shop, Sally Beauty, and Walgreens.

In 1999, Batra authored a Book called The Art of Mehndi, published by Carlton Books/Penguin. She then launched her eponymous brand Sumita Cosmetics, expanded to 22 countries, and sold the company to her partners in 2017. In today’s Covid environment, Sumita has pivoted and has recently launched The Pro Safety Group together with her partner Madeline Leaonard. They are producing a Virtual Summit on safety for the Beauty Industry January 11-13th, 2021. Batra is also working with a global Covid Consortium that is offering Covid Test Kits (PCR, Antigen, and antibody tests) to a network of global clients.

Headshot of Dean Stephen Galloway

Welcome Message by Dean Stephen Galloway

Stephen Galloway joined Chapman University this year as the Twyla Reed Martin Dean of Film and Media Arts at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Dean Galloway is best known for his role as executive editor and producer at The Hollywood Reporter. He created and produced series such as “The Hollywood Masters “and the “Close Up with The Hollywood Reporter,” available on Sundance TV and Hulu. Galloway graduated from Cambridge University and came to America on a Harkness Fellowship (the British version of a Rhodes Scholarship). After studying at the American Film Institute’s conservatory, he worked in film and television both in the U.S. and France before joining The Hollywood Reporter where he has served for almost 30 years.

Over the past decade, Dean Galloway worked to bring in and support diversity in the entertainment industry. Through a partnership between The Hollywood Reporter and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, he created the award-winning Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program, which pairs high school juniors from schools in South Central Los Angeles with top-level women in film and TV. More than 250 teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds have participated in this program and gone on to college, helped by more than $10 million that Stephen has raised in scholarship money.

Keynote Speaker:

Valerie Kaur

Valarie Kaur – Seeing no stranger: The power of storytelling in social change with Valarie Kaur and Angad Singh

Valarie Kaur is a renowned civil rights leader, lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, educator, innovator, and best-selling author of SEE NO STRANGER. She leads the Revolutionary Love Project to reclaim love as a force for justice. Valarie burst into American consciousness in the wake of the 2016 election when her Watch Night Service address went viral with 40 million views worldwide. Her question “Is this the darkness of the tomb – or the darkness of the womb?” reframed the political moment and became a mantra for people fighting for change.

Twenty years ago, when Valarie was a college student, a family friend was murdered in a hate crime a few days after 9/11. He was a turbaned Sikh man she called “Uncle,” killed by a man who called himself a patriot. Across the U.S., people of color were beaten, chased, shot, and stabbed in thousands of hate incidents that were barely reported in the media. Valarie took her camera and began a journey across America to tell her community’s story and fight for racial justice. That journey continues today.

Valarie has won policy change on multiple fronts – hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, solitary confinement, Internet freedom, and more. She founded Groundswell MovementFaithful Internet, and the Yale Visual Law Project to inspire and equip advocates at the intersection of spirituality, storytelling, and justice. Valarie has been a regular TV commentator on MSNBC and contributor to CNN, NPR, PBS, the Hill, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post. Valarie earned degrees at Stanford UniversityHarvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School.

Valarie’s vision of “Revolutionary Love” is deeply rooted in her Sikh faith. She grew up on the farmlands of California, where her family has lived as Punjabi Sikh farmers for more than a century. As a child, whenever she felt lost, her grandfather would give her Sikh wisdom through song and point to the path of the sant-sipahi, sage-warrior. The sage loves; the warrior fights — it’s a path of revolutionary love.

Valarie’s debut book, SEE NO STRANGER: A Memoir & Manifesto of Revolutionary Lovewas released in 2020 and expands on her “blockbuster” TED Talk. 

Keynote Speaker:

Harmeet Kaur

Harmeet Kaur – Telling Our Own Stories: Why We Need Sikhs in Journalism

Harmeet Kaur is a culture writer for CNN. She covers race, identity, and social justice. She is dedicated to telling stories about minority communities with sensitivity and nuance, whether through daily news stories or enterprise reporting. She is also a writer for CNN’s award-winning 5 Things newsletter.

Previously, Harmeet was a producer on the digital programming team. There, she helped readers make sense of the news through push notifications, worked with teams on headlines and story framing and curated homepages across platforms. She started her career at CNN in television production.

Harmeet is a graduate of Emory University, where she studied international affairs and journalism. Originally from the small town of Pikeville, Kentucky, she currently resides and works in New York City.

Films to be screened on Friday include:

There will be a Q&A session with one of the filmmakers after the screening of the films.

Art Finds Its Way

In Art Finds Its Way, Aman (aka Almond Singh) is a 19-year-old micro engraver who is the Guinness World Record holder for making portraits on almonds. As we follow Aman on his artistic journey, we realize that artistic passions can lead to a fulfilling career, even though it may not be a traditional one.

Singh brings a deep knowledge of Indian Art and cultural understanding to her work which she shares through her presentations and writings.

Kites: Beyond Boundaries

Kites: Beyond Boundaries

A forensic expert by profession, now retired, Dr. Sehgal is an international kite maker. He is the world record holder for the smallest kite, one that can pass through a pinhole! He produces kites about every occasion of world importance, with various social messages.

Allegory-Episode 1: Noor-e-Tawheed, Light of Oneness

Allegory, A Tapestry of Guru Nanak’s Travels, the 24-episode docuseries is a first-ever attempt to sequentially document Guru Nanak’s life journeys across nine nations as narrated in the earliest historical texts.  Episode 1: ‘Noor-e-Tawheed’, the ‘Light of Oneness’, presents the tender years of the gentle valiant who ignited the spirit of Oneness.

Q & A Session with Ojaswwee Sharma

Ojaswwee Sharma is an Indian Filmmaker known for his acclaimed feature length documentary “Admitted” and short films Rooh, Lucky Kabootar, Butter Toast, Badalti Soch, Loneliness, Zubaan, The Last Date, The Tide of Time, JSLive, JSLive2, The Dichotomy of Hope, The Tide of Time, Bodybuilding the Indian Way, Gal Ban Gayi, Kamley, and I Quit. With more than “28 Film Festival Feathers” on his cap, his films have an official nomination to more that 17+ International Film Festivals, with notable acclaims. He is the founding producer of Rolling Frames Entertainment, heading Pinaka Mediaworks and curator to many digital video platforms in India. Ojaswwee’s key strength lies in producing content across various genre such as emotional, inspirational, and humorous. 


(Friday) 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm . (Pacific Standard Time)(GMT-08:00)