Traveling to the other side of the world with other passionate filmmakers to help tell an important story sounded like every dream I had going into film school, so when I discovered Sikhlens, I was determined to become a part of it.

The Sikhlens program focuses on expanding the general perception of Sikhism through profiles of Sikhs globally, in countries where they have been particularly marginalized. Over the last few months, I was able to learn about this tightly knit religion and culture by visiting a local gurdwara, watching Sikh films, and developing relationships with our subjects and their families. We experienced one of the fundamental Sikh principles, seva (selfless service), when we stayed at the large family home of Dya Singh, the subject of one of our films. After shooting they would prepare us a home cooked meal, then take us out to see the wildlife. (“How can you come to Australia without seeing a kangaroo?!”) We were also able to see local Australia and attend a spoken word performance night, a staple of the Melbourne arts scene, with our second subject, Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa.

Throughout the trip and past semester, my skills as a producer were pushed to new limits when I had to coordinate shooting schedules and meeting times with people across the world. Not having any resources from home as well as working together with a group of six new peers was an incredibly exciting challenge that fulfilled me in a way that most school projects never could. I will forever be thankful for this experience that proved I am capable of doing the things I had always dreamed about, even at 19 years old.

– Marisa Kelly (BFA/TWP ’20)

Join us for a special screening of projects from the International Documentary: Australia travel course on Thursday, December 6 beginning at 4 p.m. in the Folino Theater. These short documentaries profile the Sikh Indian communities across the world, as part of the Sikhlens program. The Australia documentaries were created this past summer as part of the International Documentary program at Dodge College. This screening is open to the public.

This article was originally published in our Fall 2018 In Production Magazine. This issue focuses on exploring identity through filmmaking, alumni honing their skills on the latest CFE production, Chapman’s third Student Academy Award-win, and a spotlight on our Screenwriting program. Check out the full magazine on issuu