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Monday, January 09, 2006

First Draft at Harvard


Today Dr. Diana Eck and the Harvard Pluralism Project hosted a screening of the rough cut of the documentary at Harvard University (pictured above). We first screened the rough cut to a Sikh audience at the Spinning Wheel Film Festival in Toronto. This screening would be different. At an invitation-only event, we gathered classmates, friends, professors, and staff at Harvard to watch the cut and offer feedback.

When introducing the film, looking out into a sea of faces, I became nervous. Who in their right mind would show the first draft of their paper to all their colleagues at once? And yet, we had decided to share the earliest draft of our film to live audiences, because we needed to hear from people who have studied and lived the issues explored in the film. Some art can afford to be measured by the subjective view of the artist only. But art like ours is often bound by an unyielding ethical commitment to the voices of many people, many stories. It cannot afford to fail in telling the stories consistently and respectfully. There is too much at stake. And so I swallowed my fear once again, and let the movie begin.

The conversation that followed was infused with energy and reflection. Our first university screening was a success, thanks to the support of Dr. Diana Eck (pictured), the organization of Kathryn Lohre, and the help of my friends Deonnie Moodie, Brianne Goodman, and Tracy Wells, all through the Pluralism Project. I will now carry a stack of new comment cards back with me to the editing room in Los Angeles, where we will experience another first: the screening of a brand-new Divided We Fall film trailer on the eve of California’s first-ever all-Sikh film festival. Stay tuned…

[This entry is cross-posted on "Into the Whirlwind," and was originally published on December 8, 2005.]


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