City boy bags ‘Heaven and Earth title’ at Sikhnet Awards

Jalandhar, Punjab: Sukhmanjot Singh, a student of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, at the GND varsity regional campus, Ladhewali, has bagged the ‘Heaven and Earth Award’ in the Sikhnet Film Festival in United States, for his path-breaking documentary titled the ‘Turban Girl’.

The 18-and-a-half minute documentary depicts the change, degeneration and ultimate revival of religious and spiritual sensibilities in a Sikh family and the final redemption when a curious granddaughter has an enlightening dream which makes her see the ‘right path’ that her grandmother always talked about.

Of the six films shortlisted for the festival, three won prizes and three awards. Sukhmanjot’s film bagged the ‘Heaven and Earth Award’ under the ‘vote for cry’ category (which asked viewers to vote for the film which makes them cry). The film was also the one to receive the second most hits on YouTube, for all the films featured in the festival.

Presently, a first year student in the MJMC Department, for Singh (21), the journey of making films started in January 2011, when he started his first documentary ‘Ankahi Awaaz’ in January 2011, based on the issue of dowry.

Made for the media festival of his college, the first attempt brought initial disappointment as he won no prizes. But not the kind to get disheartened, Singh asked the judge to inform him about his weaknesses so that he could improve his work for the second attempt.

Reworking on the project, he then sent it to the documentary festival held at a local university where it then bagged the first prize. He also sent the documentary to a Film Festival held at JIMS in New Delhi.

Sukhmanjot said, “I was really inspired from the work of Satdeep Singh, director of ‘Proud to be a Sikh’ and ‘Empty Inside’. Then, in 2012, I started making short films. My first short film was ‘The Untold Story’ and I later also made a documentary titled ‘Sehyog’.”

In May 2013, he was planning to make a movie based on the story of Khuswant Singh. “But, I took the advice of Satdeep Singh and my friend Sukhmani Kaur who advised me to make a movie for Sikhnet Film Festival. The topic this year was ‘Sikh Women’. So, I began penning Turban Girl’s script. Narrations to my colleague Sukhmani helped me polish and better the film.”

A final narration of the script to my brother Birpal Singh and his motivation to me to start shooting, act as the trigger to finally start work on the project.

The eager filmmaker has already started work on another project about poverty and hunger.

Source: The Tribune

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