First TV Program on Sikh Americans After 9/11 – Mistaken Identity – PAHS Press Release

Amanda Gesine Mistaken Identity

 

WLWD 2000 Inc. announced the US and worldwide release of  the TV program: "MISTAKEN IDENTITY: Sikhs in America" which took nine months to complete, involving extensive travel and  filming on locations across the country from NY/NJ/CT to Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH, to California (San Francisco, Yuba City, Palo Alto to Los Angeles, etc). Negotiations are underway with PBS, BBC, STAR-TV and SONY, etc. to broadcast the program during the month of November, when Sikhs celebrate the birthday of Guru Nanak – founder of Sikhism over 500 years ago.

The objective is to inform and educate mainstream Americans and non-Sikhs in the USA and worldwide — Who are Sikhs, What is Sikhism and the economic contribution of Sikh Americans since 1889, when the first immigrants arrived in California – over 100 years ago.

The documentary TV program goes beyond the shock and common wrath that consumed us all in the immediate aftermath of September 11. In the face of such adversity, the cherished ideals (liberty and freedom of speech, etc.) that guard the cornerstones of American society became wounded by victimization of fellow Americans – demonizing those who simply looked like the terrorists who had perpetrated the heinous crimes.

It tells the visual story of Sikhs in America in a post September 11 America, through the eyes of 23-year old Amanda Gesine, host and investigative journalist, who coincidentally, discovers her Sikh American neighbors, for the first time.  A college student at George Washington University in DC, she conceived the idea at a candlelight vigilance, as WLWD 2000’s R & D pitched for a Asian American WTC story.

Talking with young Sikhs her own age, she learns about the sudden racial profiling, verbal abuse and physical assaults, simply because they wore turbans and beards. Together, they discussed that this was due to sheer ignorance and fear of fellow Americans. She concluded that it was the demonization of the turban and the beard that created the huge backlash against Sikh Americans.  She learned that it was young America – men who rushed around waving baseball bats and throwing beer cans at Sikh taxi drivers and old turbaned Sikh men.  Her role was crucial in reaching out for more understanding among her own younger generation.

With Amanda’s initiation, the TV program spotlights and discusses the experiences of Sikhs in America – one ethnic group that makes up a small fragment of the American population. "MISTAKEN IDENTITY" charts her personal journey – demystifying the enigma of Sikh Americans and shares the hopes and desires of Americans from all ethnic backgrounds who seek to close ranks against bigotry and hatred and make a united stand against terrorism.

The important ethos of this TV program does not pertain to an exclusive American audience. In fact, it speaks to global TV viewers who appreciate the impact of East and West cultures (both in socio-economic terms and in life style/material terms) – the key demographic that TV advertisers and corporate sponsors seek to target.

Produced and directed by Vinanti Sarkar, President of WLWD 2000 Inc. (a boutique digital TV production company) headquartered in midtown New York. Philip Marshall, 4-time Emmy Award winning editor was hired to take over 36-40 hours of content footage with a strong script, targeting mainstream America and non-Sikhs.

WLWD 2000 Inc. received support from the Sikhs of Yuba City who understood the importance of the TV program, President, Dr. Narinder Singh Bajwa and members of the Punjabi American Heritage Society and the Yuba City Gurdwara. Executive Producer, Dr. Jasbir Singh Kang, M.D. believed the program as a "wake up call", with support from Teji "Tony" Singh, Parry Singh and K.P. Singh, Sikh Educational & Cultural Society of Indianapolis/Avtar Singh, Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis. The final edit was made possible by Vikram Chatwal, Producer and Executive Producers: Shining Sung (Taiwanese American), Shahid Hussain (Pakistani), with Ava Chien (Chinese American) sending the TV program for review to CCTV in mainland China.

Photographs and phone intereviews can be made available on request

Westcoast: Dr. Jasbir Singh Kang, Tel: 530-300-3735 /  sikhsangat@yahoo.com

Eastcoast:  Dir/Prod V Sarkar,  Tel 212-859-4568  / vsarkar@aol.com

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