‘American Sikh’ Sets World Premiere for Tribeca Film Festival
A new animated short inspired by the life of Vishavjit Singh — the ‘Sikh Captain America’ — will have its world premiere at the Oscar-qualifying Tribeca Film Festival next month (June 7-18). The film was created to bring more Sikh representation to screens and challenge perceptions of what makes an American (and a superhero).
American Sikh is animated by Studio Showoff, a Melbourne-based production house founded by Ivan Dixon and Sean Zwan that has produced work for Childish Gambino, HBO and Cartoon Network. The film will premiere at Tribeca in New York on Saturday, June 10 at 5:15 p.m., with encores Sunday, June 11 at 2:15 p.m. and Saturday, June 17 at 12;15 p.m.
Singh is publicly known for his Captain America persona — a Sikh man equipped with his turban and beard — fighting against bigotry, intolerance. The New York-based illustrator, writer, performance artist, diversity speaker, and creator of sikhtoons.com cultivated this character and his love of cartooning in the post-9/11 era, when Americans who looked like him became the targets of hate crimes.
Singh is the first member of his family born in the U.S., and has dedicated the last few years to travelling the country as his superhero alter-ego to battle bigotry and fear with a humorous touch. He hosts talks & keynotes in schools, universities, government agencies and companies including Google, Apple, NASA & Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. His message and work has been covered by a number of news outlets, including the New York Times, NPR, BBC, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, The Guardian and Time Magazine.
The Sikh Captain America himself produced and directed the film in partnership with Los Angeles-based director Ryan Westra. Westra too has a record of telling important stories. In his career, he has traveled to Punjab to capture undocumented stories of Sikh genocide, documented the struggles of indigenous people against oil companies in Montana, followed AIDS/HIV outreach in Mozambique and tackled topics from reproductive rights to para-athletes, mindfulness, efforts for L.A.’s unhoused, miscarriages of justice and corrupt cult leaders.