Movies on Sikhs at this Toronto film fest!

Toronto, Oct 12 (IANS) A line-up of movies about the Sikh community is what the ongoing sixth global Spinning Wheel Film Festival (SWFF) has on offer, bringing together members of the Punjabi diaspora in large numbers at the Isabel Bader Theatre here.

"This unique festival is the platform for the global Punjabi-Sikh diaspora to come together to celebrate our culture, values and traditions. Let us celebrate it in the modern way," said Australian music icon Dya Singh, who opened the festival with his unique blend of Sikh hymns and Western music Friday night.

Mainstream Canadian and Sikh filmmakers from around the world are showcasing their films at the three-day festival.

"We have chosen 28 films of the 150-odd that we received. They have been made by Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, whites and others. The only theme that runs through them is that they are Sikh-specific films,"' said festival chair Birinder Singh Ahluwalia.

Among the movies being screened is "American Made", the story of a Sikh family stuck at the Grand Canyon as their SUV breaks down.

Featuring well-known Indian-American actor Kal Penn, it shows how American-Sikh Anant Singh is taken for a terrorist and fails to get help from passers-by.

"Sikh-Canadian Heroes of World War I" traces the history of a handful of Sikhs who were part of the Canadian armed forces in the First World War.

Produced by Canadian David Gray, the film uses archival material to show the valour of these soldiers.

"The Making of Fana'a: Ranjha Revisited" is a film that surveys a dance-music production made jointly by dancer Navtej Johar, Sufi singer Madan Gopal Singh, and Carnatic vocalist and composer G. Elangovan.

Using the Heer-Ranjha legend, the film celebrates the Punjabi language and Sufi music in an innovative way that can be understood across cultures.

"Dubai's Guru Nanak Darbar" is a virtual tour of the majestic $20-million Sikh shrine in the UAE for which the ruler of Dubai - Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum - has donated 25,000 sq ft of land.

The Singh Twins - Amrit Kaur Singh and Rabindra Kaur Singh - and their co-producer Andy Cooper from Liverpool have brought "The Making of Liverpool" to the festival.

At the opening ceremony, the organisers honoured the late Punjabi singer Surinder Kaur, Punjabi folk legend Ramta and Canadian broadcaster Iqbal Mahal with the Paonta Awards for enriching Sikh heritage.

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