- The Oscar-qualified animated short film tells the true story of Vishavjit Singh who is known for his Captain America persona armed with turban, beard and humor to tackle fear, anxiety, bigotry and intolerance.
Guneet Monga Kapoor, producer of the 2023 Academy Award-winning documentary short film “The Elephant Whisperers,” and celebrity chef and filmmaker Vikas Khanna have joined Oscar-qualified animated short “American Sikh” as executive producers.
The film tells the true story of an American-born, turban-wearing Vishavjit Singh, “who after a lifetime of facing prejudice, self-doubt, and violence, finally finds acceptance in a superhero costume,” according to the film’s website. Based in New York City, Singh is an illustrator, writer, performance artist, diversity speaker, and creator of Sikhtoons.com. He is publicly known for his Captain America persona armed with a turban, beard, and humor to tackle fear, anxiety, bigotry, and intolerance.
“American Sikh” was created in partnership with Singh as the director-producer and director Ryan Westra, according to the film’s website. It was 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.
It has won several awards including Best Short Animation at the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama, Best Animation at the San Diego International Film Festival, the Grand Jury award for Best Short Documentary, and the Audience Choice award at the Tasveer Film Festival in Seattle, a special mention at Chicago International Film Festival and an honorable mention at Tallgrass Film Festival.
Singh was born in Washington D.C., and moved to New Delhi at age 4, his website says. He survived a genocidal massacre on the streets of Delhi in November 1984, and he gave a testimony about this experience at the U.S. Capital briefing in 2018, ‘Religious Freedom in India.’
He relocated to the U.S. after high school. After finishing his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he went to graduate school for a master’s in public health at the University of California, Berkeley. He moved to the east coast in 2000 for a daytime career in software engineering. “He got his spark for cartooning in the post 9/11 tragedy when Americans with turbaned and bearded countenance became targets of hate/bias crimes,” his website says.
In 2016, he transitioned out of software technology to travel across the nation as a speaker, storyteller, artist, and activist on a mission to represent the underrepresented. “The mission continues armed with my turban, beard, humor, liberal doses of compassion & kindness and always trying to keep an open mind like a young kid,” he says on his website.