With the high volume of information requests I am receiving, I thought I’d put up a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section.
As always, if your questions are not answered via the F.A.Q., please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Q: Why did you decide to title your film ‘A Warrior’s Religion’?
A: I chose to title this film, ‘A Warrior’s Religion’, for the following 3 reasons:
i) A few years ago, an article was published in Maclean’s Magazine. The article was about the ‘Indo-Canadian Gang Violence Issue in Greater Vancouver’. A paragraph, which I quote below, was the impersonal catalyst (along with a few personal catalysts) that continued to propel me to pursue my film idea.
Five centuries ago, Guru Nanak founded Sikhism, a religion designed to promote equality among people. Although it evolved into a warrior religion, it was intended to uphold bravery in the face of evil. But the very essence of Sikhism, its spiritual struggle for human rights, has been perverted by misguided men bent on gaining power and exacting revenge. The Sikh teaching, “When all else fails, only then raise your sword,” no longer applies to defending the defenceless. It is an excuse to use violence to settle the score.
The articles intention, though harsh, was to more or less open communication lines on a topic that was readily dismissed. The ‘Sikh’ connotations throughout this article have alienated people to the point where they have no trust in mainstream media. The Sikh community was the main focus of my research, I feel it is justified to use such connotations. Although it is not my goal to alienate people further, many people refuse to look past the title and artwork. I have not alienated you, but instead you have passed judgement on me and my work without viewing it for its true intention.
ii) ‘A Warrior’s Religion’ is a title of play on words. Throughout the documentary you will learn how gangsters view themselves as warriors. I have also learned through nearly 3 years of research that many gangsters (not just South Asian gangsters) hold their chosen religion in high accord. Often praying at a temple/church before pursuing a dangerous crime. More often than not, wearing some type of religious symbol (tattoos/jewellery) of their chosen religion.
iii) Like it or not, the majority of gang related deaths in the South Asian community (in the Greater Vancouver area) over the last 19 years belong to the Sikh Community. Specifically young men aged 18-25.
Q: Why do you use the Sikh Religion’s symbol in this film’s artwork?
A: Religious symbols and other connotations about religion have been used in film artwork and film titles before. Though many film’s made use of these connotations for the sole purpose of causing controversy, however, I did not. My goal was simply to unite the facts of growing gang violence in a minority community and how the majority of South Asian deaths belonged to the Sikh community. Though not practicing, I come from a Sikh background, I decided to use the Sikh Religion’s symbol along with my invaluable personal experience with the religion and the community to portray my message.
People have asked why I chose not to leave the focus on the Punjabi community. Though the majority of the South Asian community is of Punjabi descent, a high percentage of gang related murders in even this community belong to Sikhs. Punjabi descent is an ‘umbrella’ that encompasses Hindu Punjabis, Christian Punjabis, Muslim Punjabis, and other groups. For this reason I left the topic South Asian Gang Violence with a focus on the Sikh Community.
Q: Don’t you think you are bringing the community ‘down’ in a sense?
A: Absolutely not. If trying to save lives and portraying a message of awareness is deemed a disservice to my community, then I apologize for failing you. But at the same time, if you truly believe I am bringing the community ‘down’, it reasserts my belief that a portion of the community chooses to live behind the walls of ignorance & denial.
Q: What is a poetic documentary?
A: A poetic documentary is a small genre of documentaries, where the goal is simply to use powerful visuals and audio to create an emotional attachment with the audience. By creating that attachment, the message is ‘driven home’ and the audience is readily more accepting to creating a change.
Q: Why did you decide to do this film?
A: Someone had to. This issue is not slowing down. Though murders have decreased within the community, the amount of gang related crimes have increased significantly.
Q: Who produced the film?
A: I am an independent filmmaker. 100% of the film’s cost was incurred by me. By doing this, I had full creative control and the ability to portray the message in a manner not clouded by politics and corporate b.s..
Q: How much has the film cost you thus far?
A: Not including my time, in the neighbourhood of +$40000 CDN.
Q: How long have you been film making?
A: Since the start of this project. Going on 3 years. I have a background in writing, photography, and other art mediums. It was my passion of activism and poetry that led me to pursue the medium of film making. I hope to make a career in film making. Creating films that ‘evoke thought’ for topics that are in desperate need of attention.
Q: Who is your target demographic?
A: Everyone and anyone. Positive change can come from anyone, regardless if they are a part of the South Asian community, another minority community, or the mainstream community. In the end, we all belong to the community of humanity. With that being said, the community that was the premise of my film is where I would like to see the film make an immediate impact.
Q: Do you have any other projects in mind for the future?
A: I have written synopses for 3 feature length documentaries and 3 fictional features. All being of a poetic nature and all bringing attention to much needed topics.
Q: Why did you include Sukhvinder (Bicky) Singh Dosanjh’s name in your death list in the film and on the website, he was killed in a motor vehicle accident and not in gang violence?
A: I can understand the reasoning behind this question, why include someone on your list who was not killed via gang violence, the topic of your film. It is very apparent, both to law enforcement and to the community, that Sukhvinder was a young man who was heavily involved and associated in the criminal underworld. Yes, he did die outside the scope of gang violence, but yet he was not able to escape karma. My beliefs in karma are enough of a reason to have included him. The negative energy in which he led his life was his ultimate demise. In my film, I just show the names of dead gangster’s, not how they died.
Q: Why did you include Amanjot Kler’s name in your death list in the film and on the website, she was killed in a motor vehicle accident and not in gang violence?
A: More so than the reasoning behind Sukhvinder (Bicky) Singh Dosanjh’s inclusion in my death list (on the website and in the film), I am asked about the inclusion of Amanjot Kler’s. She was a passenger in a car that was involved in a motor vehicle accident. The driver was the aforementioned Dosanjh, who was well known to law enforcement. Just as with his inclusion, this is a question of karma. I have heard many good things about this young lady, but we cannot neglect the fact that she was involved in a relationship (let that be a friendship or more, but a relationship none the less) with someone who was poisoning our society with drugs and violence. If someone as good as this young lady can be corrupted by the lifestyle, even for a moment, then it is a question of karma. I included her name on the victims section of the film’s death list. She was a victim of the lifestyle that she was indirectly involved with. Karma judged her, not me.
Q: Why do you choose to include ‘karma’ related deaths in your death lists? Are you purposely trying to widen the scope of related death’s to this issue for the benefit of making this issue ‘more’ than it is?
A: My beliefs in karma do not need to be agreed with. However, I feel it is beneficial to make one try to understand. In my views, I believe karma is, in a way, the ultimate judge. The people doing the ‘bad’ will one day have negative karma come to them. The people doing the ‘good’ will one day have the positive karma come to them. The aforementioned Dosanjh, heavily involved in this gang issue, known to police for criminal acts, dealer of narcotics and overseer of violent acts, dies at a very young age in a very unfortunate car accident. Who judged him? The aforementioned Kler, a good person from my conversations with people that knew her, however, spent a lot of time associating herself with a criminal. Was it his negative karma that also judged her? Or was she doing enough to receive her own? Regardless, her involvement may be unclear but her association was not. I am empathetic to the feelings of her friends and family. It is not my goal to disrespect her, instead to show other young ladies that no good can come from associating with known criminals.
The scope does not need to be widened. Unfortunate to say, but the scope is too wide. This issue is prevalent and known, long before my film was presented. Again my views and opinions do not need to be (fully) understood. Please accept this film as a catalyst to bring about discussion and hopefully change.