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Inadequate Support for 'Mistaken Identity'

Vinanti Sarkar, the director/producer of the documentary film Mistaken Identity: Sikhs in America, can be reached at 212.759.4568. Vinanti's original post has been edited for clarity. A sampling of the praise this film has received: "I cannot imagine that a work with such educational and immediacy will not soon get the financing it deserves." (Arnold Marquez, Director of Programs, The San Diego Film Festival) "[T]his was the best film on Sikhism I have ever seen, especially in terms of building cross-cultural understanding. . . . This video is beautifully directed; it provides the viewers with many different voices and responses; it opens the doorway for tolerance and understanding; and it touches the heart. This is one of the most powerful and moving videos I have seen. I give it my highest recommendation." (Sujan Burgeson, Ph.D., Yuba College, CA) Golden Lion Award (Short Student Documentary) at the 6th Annual George Lindsey U.N.A. Film Festival, Apr. 24-26, 2003.

Photo: Mistaken Identity: Sikhs in America; Amanda Gesine (center)., Feb. 26, 2003

For the past few weeks, both my accountant and lawyer have been insisting that we declare bankruptcy and close W.L.W.D. 2000 Inc. This would mean shelving the film due to lack of adequate financing. Several Sikhs on the east coast had promised to help. However, they appear to have their own agendas. They have asked for us to replace some of the existing footage with footage of their choice (typically of themselves). Repeatedly, I have told them that this film is a completed product. It is extremely expensive to go back into the A.V.I.D. editing room, download the entire film, re-shoot and then re-edit them into the film. They do not understand the professional quality of content and technique which is so important to bring a film to mainstream America - the intended audience for the documentary. They want their gurdwara, themselves and their families in the film. This has been going on for the past three to four months.

We need money to distribute the film in the U.S., Canada and U.K. It is not a large amount - about $25,000 - and, as always, we have been promised the money but there is no sign of it. Since Feb. 1, 2003, I have approached about 200 Sikhs via email to help us raise a minimum of $25,000 to get us on our feet, i.e. to negotiate with 347 P.B.S. channels to broadcast the film during the Baisakhi celebrations in Apr. I have not had much success.