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Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath; A True Story from New Moon Productions; Film Documents Post-9/11 Hate Crimes And Violence.

LOS ANGELES -- On the four-year anniversary of 9/11 and the four-year memorial of the murder of an Arizona Sikh man, post production begins on Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath, an independent film that chronicles a student's journey documenting prejudice and hate crimes in the aftermath of 9/11.

The documentary follows college student Valarie Kaur in the days and months after the 2001 terrorist attacks as she drove across America with only a video camera, interviewing victims of hate violence and religious persecution.

Balbir Singh Sodhi, killed in front of his Mesa, Ariz. gas station on Sept. 15, 2001, was the first fatality of a post-9/11 hate crime. His turban and beard, the religious uniform for Sikh men, marked him as 'Muslim-looking' to his killer Frank Roque, who was convicted in 2004.

"Many Americans know that hate crimes took place after 9/11," Kaur said. "But we, as a nation, have not yet understood the impact of such violence, or how it continues to divide us."

After Sodhi's death, Kaur, a third-generation Sikh American who was then a Stanford junior, felt compelled to take action. With her turbaned 18-year-old cousin as cameraman, she took to the road, interviewing victims of hate crimes, violence and religious persecution in the months after 9/11.

This summer, award-winning director Sharat Raju and a film crew from New Moon Productions traveled with Kaur, now a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School, to re-trace her steps across America, revisiting and re-interviewing the people she first met in 2001. The crew also interviewed leading scholars, lawyers, and policy makers to speak about the broader implications of hate crimes, national security and civil rights in post-9/11 America. The finished film will weave this present-day narrative on film with the rawness of Kaur's original video footage.

The film is supported by a New Filmmaker Grant from Panavision and a generous contribution from Eastman Kodak. The production team reunites many members from the crew of Raju's 2003 short film, American Made (www.americanmadethemovie.com). That film, about a Sikh American family stranded in the desert, won seventeen international awards, including the Student Visionary Award at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2004.

"With Divided We Fall, we hope that audiences can experience a powerful, provocative, and engaging film that introduces faces, voices and stories to the mainstream audience that people rarely see in theaters or on television," Raju said.

For more on the film, to receive updates, or to become involved, visit the official site: www.dwf-film.com. Kaur chronicles the production on her blog: http://valariekaur.blogspot.com.

Sikhism is a religion that originated in northern Indian in the 15th century C.E. (A.D.) and stresses equality among all people and service to others. There are approximately half a million Sikhs in America, and 23 million Sikhs worldwide. For more information on the history and beliefs of Sikhism, visit SikhNet (https://www.sikhnet.com/s/SikhIntro).

To request an interview with Valarie Kaur, Sharat Raju, or another member of the film crew, please contact Tracy Wells, Communications Director, Phone: 803-528-1003, Email: tracy@dwf-film.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 9, 2005
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