Rippin Sindher is a 29-year-old East Indian filmmaker from Selma, CA. From an early age, she wrote stories, directed short videos, and acted in community theatre while her parents worked in the fields to make ends meet. She struggled to fully pursue her artistic dreams, fearing they were too unconventional for an Indian girl raised by immigrants.

Fortunately for us, Rippin has emerged as a talented young filmmaker whose film “SEVA” will premiere at The Big Tell Showcase. Rippin shares a close look at the Sikh practice of seva, or selfless giving, in a film that will enhance cultural understanding, break down stereotypes, and introduce the audience to this beautiful practice taking place in our community.

Although she considers herself an amateur, Rippin’s achievements as a filmmaker are extensive:

After graduating from UCLA, she worked for the Directors Guild of America. She wrote, directed, acted and sings in The Hideout, showcased in the American Cinematheque’s 2018 Focus on Female Directors program. The film was an official selection at LA Shorts International Film Festival, Long Beach Indie (where it was nominated for Best Narrative Short—Musical), New York Indian Film Festival, San Antonio Film Festival, Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival in Canada and earned Rippin the Emerging Filmmaker Award at Festival Angaelica. Previously, she created the YouTube web series, The Man of Mystery, produced by her brother Gurinder Sindher (Issa Rae’s Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl).  Rippin has worked on various commercials, production designed The Virgin Deal and directed an episode of His & Hers for PlugTV. In 2017, she was named Top 50 Influential South Asians and was a panelist on the SikhLens Creative Roundtable.

Rippin also gives back to the community as a mentor for teen girls for the non-profit, Writegirl, and credits her service work to the influence of her late mother who was a devotee to seva, often encouraging Rippin and her siblings to do more for the community at large. This is what gave Rippin the courage to defy stereotypes while growing up. Commitment to community and family are common themes throughout Rippin’s work and community involvement. Traits also shared by her brother Gurinder Sindher (“Issa Rae’s Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”), who produced this project as well as others that have garnered success on the festival circuit.

“The concept of this film is particularly one that pulls me as a filmmaker because of how timely it is to tell the story. Being a Sikh-American in the U.S. is not an easy identity to uphold, especially with the stereotypes and stigmas. It is through this medium and art form that I plan to expose the beauty of giving, the impact it makes, and the unity it can create,” says Rippin.

The film delves into the importance of this selfless service known as seva and provides context for the National Day of Seva, which emerged after the massacre at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August 2012. “SEVA” centers on the Sikh-American community and the leading efforts in Fresno by the Jakara Movement, scholar/Executive Director Naindeep Singh, and female civil rights activist and Sikh-American leader Valarie Kaur (raised in Clovis) to create awareness about the Sikh identity.

Learn more about Rippin Sindher and her work at www.therippinblog.com

Enjoy the premiere of “SEVA” at The Big Tell Showcase on Friday, October 19 at 7 pm at the Tower Theatre in Fresno.

The Big Tell, presented by Bank of America, is a regional filmmaking initiative for ten Central Valley filmmakers creating 5-minute mini-documentaries about incredible people, places, and events in the Central Valley.

All ten films will be screened at The Big Tell Showcase: Walk the red carpet starting at 6:00 pm before the show at 7:00 pm. For more information and to reserve a seat for this free, all-ages show, visit www.thebigtell.org.