Jaskaran Singh holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Toronto in Political Science and is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Advanced Television and Film program. He held the positions of Head Writer and Creative Director while at UofT for its campus wide media channel. While at Sheridan, Jaskaran continued to write and produce short works, most notably “ReArranged,” which boldly addressed arranged marriages and took part in two festivals in 2018 (IIFSA Toronto and NSI Online); and “S.A.M.,” a technically and logistically demanding sci-fi production that has received festival acclaim globally. Jaskaran recently produced another sci-fi short, “Autopsy,” and in founding Paradox Lost, he hopes to use his unique voice to write/direct/produce stories not given a platform to be told. His latest, “A Turban & A Beard” is the first such attempt.
In the middle of September 2001, a Sikh man was murdered outside of his gas station in one of the first post-9/11 hate crimes against that religious group. When asked, his family said that all the killer saw was a turban and a beard. As part of their faith, Sikhs are required to keep their hair uncut and wear a turban. These articles of faith have ignorantly become synonymous with acts of terrorism, giving free reign for those with hate in their heart to attack based solely on appearance. Almost twenty years later, while much progress has been made, a new brand of nationalism has risen targeting with extreme prejudice. What once felt like underground or receding racism has boldly bubbled to the surface again. A way in which that warped narrative can be challenged is with more widespread representation in media. Sikh representation remains confined to a world of taxi drivers, mistaken terrorists, and convenience store clerks. My hope is that this short allows for layered and complex roles for Sikh actors, while providing an audience with a window inside that cultural, religious, and social upbringing.