MediaStorm, one of the best-known multimedia studios in America, in collaboration with the Alexia Foundation, launched a multimedia project called "Undesired" October 1. The 12-minute piece uses photography, video and audio to show the horrors of gendercide in India, including the burning of women who produce daughters instead of sons.
Agentinian photojournalist Walter Astrada won the Alexia Foundation's Professional Grant to capture images of women and children in India victimized by gendercide. Astrada and the Alexia Foundation then collaborated with MediaStorm to add video and audio content.
Fellow SAJA-member and recent Columbia Journalism School graduate, Shreeya Sinha, is the associate producer for the piece. Sinha, who is interning at MediaStorm, spent two months of the summer in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Vrindavan, Dehradun and Bihar conducting interviews of various widows, mothers, activists and academics. Later, she traveled to the India-Nepal border to find more sources. "I was shooting mostly in the north where the sex ratios are lowest, and snaked my way to the border of Nepal and India, where young girls are being trafficked to be bought and sold as brides," writes Sinha in an e-mail. Altogether, she shot about 25 different interviews and wrote MediaStorm's first text piece.
I've found two South Asia-related nominations (are there others?). One is "Kavi" for Short Film (Live Action). From the movie site:
Did you know slavery still exists? There’s more slavery today than the
entire 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade. Click the photo to
see the “Kavi” trailer & learn more. Kavi is a boy in India who
wants to play cricket and go to school, but instead he is forced to work
in a brick kiln as a modern-day slave. Unsatisfied with his fate, Kavi
must either accept what he’s always been told, or fight for a different
life even if he’s unsure of the ultimate outcome.
KaviTheMovie.com has more info, including contact information for the director, Gregg Helvey.
The other is "Burma VJ" for Documentary (Feature). From the movie site:
There’s Hollywood. There’s Bollywood. Then there’s Bobby
Bobby Khan will try, fail, and try again to crossover from
Bollywood to Hollywood when Raising Desi Production’s"Bobby Khan’s Ticket to Hollywood" debuts this year.
A venture of California-based Atif Mirza and Tarun Shetty, Raising Desi Productions has gained popularity through its online show, "Desi OC" (short for Orange County in California), attracting at least 1 million hits online.
With the standard sunshine, palm trees and pretty faces of a
young adult drama, Desi OC follows young South Asian Americans and their friends
through the dating scene, family life and career woes.
“We essentially go off of what we’ve been experiencing ourselves,” Mirza said.
I don't think I've blogged a word in about six months. Such are the harsh terms of my parole agreement. But I wanted to post this great video from SAJAforum-ist Anup Kaphle (whom, it should be noted, is no longer with the Atlantic, but with the Washington Post).
Anup, who is originally from Nepal, traveled to Afghanistan with reporter Graeme Wood and shadowed the Nepali Gurkha regiment, which has fought for the British since 1815. The crucial point of this report is the cultural familiarity that these Nepali soldiers bring to Afghanistan: watch as they trade jokes and songs with the Afghans, and establish a rapport that I suspect is much harder for Westerners to achieve. I also loved watching them dance with British soldiers to Lady Gaga. By the way, Anup and Graeme were able to do their reporting because they won a SAJA Reporting Fellowship.
I am going to do some self-plagiarizing and re-use a lot of content I used in a previous post.
And much more importantly, it's about a South Asian who's hit the top of the U.S. music charts.
Jay Sean, a 28-year-old British singer/rapper/hip-hopper, whose real name is Kamaljit Singh Jhooti, has moved up one spot to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (the listing of the most popular songs in the US, as measured
by radio play, sales and online streaming).
His infectious song, called "Down" (featuring a big name in the world of hip-hop, Lil Wayne), is #1 on the chart that was released today. He replaced the Black-eyed Peas and is ahead of other major mainstream names, such as Miley Cyrus at #2 and Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West at #3.
[That's Jay Sean at the Aug. 2009 India Day parade in NYC, photographed by another Jay, photojournalist Jay Mandal/On Assignment: jay[at]jaymandal.com if you want the high-rez version.]
The numbers in gray next to the #1 are last week's position (2); weeks on the Hot 100 (14); peak position (1). The song is also #1 on the Pop Songs and Radio Songs charts and #3 on Digital Songs and #6 on Ringtones and #4 on the Canadian Hot 100.
Asked by SAJAforum for a comment, SAJAer Nusrat Durrani, head of MTV World and an influential music executive, wrote: "Jay Sean hitting number 1 on the Billboard charts is great news and it was inevitable. He a class act and can compare with the very best global talent. MTV has been supporting him for many years. We are thrilled for Jay and MTV Iggy recently spoke to him at the Video Music Awards."
But the note did remind me that we should note here the musical milestone I was thinking of: a solo South Asian act hits #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (the listing of the most popular songs in the US, as measured by radio play, sales and online streaming).
Jay Sean, a 28-year-old British singer/rapper/hip-hopper, whose real name is Kamaljit Singh Jhooti, has lit up the charts with an infectious song called "Down" (featuring a big name in the world of hip-hop, Lil Wayne). As of the week of Oct. 10, the song has been on the chart for 13 weeks (including six in the top 10).
The numbers in gray are last week's position (3); weeks on the Hot 100 (13); peak position (2).
There have been other acts with South Asian connections that have made it to the top of the U.S. charts: Norah Jones;M.I.A., Freddie Mercury, the late lead singer of Queen; Tony Kanal, bassist for No Doubt; Cliff Richard, who was born in Lucknow, India;Engelbert Humperdinck, who was born in Madras, India; Kim Thayil'sband, Soundgarden, hit #30 on the Hot 100 with "Blackhole Sun," but was #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart for seven weeks. (anyone else I missed?)
Many people think the lines on the map no longer matter, but Parag Khanna says they do. Using maps of the past and present, he explains the root causes of border conflicts worldwide and proposes simple yet cunning solutions for each.