SIKH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2009: SHORT FILM
Director: Michael Singh; Producers: Bicky Singh & Michael Singh
Retired Colonel Perminder Randhawa serves as a guide to an 80 second audio recording made during WW1 by Punjabi farmer Mal Singh, while a German prisoner of war. The British Empire recruited soldiers from all across the empire in their fight against Germany and Mr. Singh found himself captured at the Battle of Flanders.
In this rare recording made by German scientists studying their multi ethnic POW’s, Singh tells his captors that once upon a time he came from a “land of butter and milk”, but now in European hands he is dying of hunger, and yearning for peace and a return to his native land.
An insightful commentary by Indian Army veteran Colonel Randhawa points out the irony of the Sikhs who while fighting for their own independence from the British oppression, were still willing to aid the Empire in their European “War for Civilization”.
Britain’s dubious promise to Mal Singh and his family ends this unique and poignant glimpse into the past.
Filmmaker Michael Singh wrote and associate-produced the definitive biographic documentary Mahalia Jackson: The Power and the Glory (1995) about the famed Gospel singer. It airs annually on PBS during Black History Month and was recently released on DVD.
In 1999-2000 he was writer and senior producer of Chicago’s Lifeline, the TV series that launched Discovery’s Health Channel. In 2001, the show was awarded the “Best Health Series” prize at the International Health and Medical Media Awards.
He is currently writing/producing Valentino’s Ghost, sponsored by the International Documentary Assn. (IDA) and funded in part by CPB affiliate NAATA, and the California Council for the Humanities, for national broadcast on PBS. It is a 90-minute documentary film examining the image of Arabs and Muslims across a century of popular American culture.
He is also writing/producing an autobiographical documentary Riding the Tiger, sponsored by the IDA and to be presented to PBS’s “Point of View” (POV) series for nationwide broadcast. It chronicles an eyewitness account of a massacre of Sikhs in New Delhi, India, 1984
Michael’s work has ranged from field-producing for The Sally Jesse Raphael Show to co-writing—with the late counterculture guru Timothy Leary—the interactive version of William Gibson’s science-fiction classic Neuromancer distributed by San Francisco’s Activision.
Brought up in India of Dutch, German and Sikh heritage, Michael majored in film production at USC’s Dept. of Cinema/TV, and has an M.A. in Indian Languages & Civilization from the University of Chicago.