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Historic Night for South Asians at the 2016 Academy Awards

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Filmmakers Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Asif Kapadia win Oscars for their respective documentaries; Priyanka Chopra and Dev Patel present awards

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (Diya TV) — On a night where diversity in Hollywood was top of mind, if not fully represented on center stage, two Desis won Academy Awards back-to-back for their respective works in documentary film. 

Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won the Oscar for Best Documentary, Short Subject for her film, “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” an intense real-life story of Saba, an 18 year old Pakistani girl attacked by her father and uncle for eloping.

Photo Credit: Kevin Winters/ Getty Images

Saba survived to tell her story and the film has become a call to arms to counter so-called ‘honor’ killings. In light of the documentary, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif committed to “rid Pakistan of this evil” with new legislation.

This is Obaid-Chinoy’s second Academy Award. She won an Oscar in 2012 for her documentary Saving Face.

Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees received Best Documentary Feature Academy Awards for ‘Amy.’ The Academy Award comes on the heels of Kapadia’s Grammy win last week, when ‘Amy’ won for Best Music Film.

Indo-British filmmaker Kapadia directed the untold story of British singer Amy Winehouse, a six-time Grammy winner who died in 2011 at the age of 27.

Winehouse’s strong personality, turbulent marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil and love-hate relationship with the press are showcased in her music and the documentary.

This was Kapadia’s first Academy Award.

Priyanka Chopra, star of the ABC drama “Quantico” and Dev Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire” fame presented awards during the show.

This year’s spectacle was mired in controversy, highlighted on social media under the moniker #OscarsSoWhite, when it was revealed the Academy nominated an all-white slate of actors for the second year in a row.

Historic Night for South Asians at the 2016 Academy Awards

Last month, the Academy vowed to double the number of women and minority members by 2020 and adopted controversial new rules that will allow it to take away voting rights from inactive members.

San Francisco Bay Area resident Sanjay Patel’s animated short “Sanjay’s Super Team” did not bring home Oscar gold, but the Disney-Pixar animator impressed many in his debut directorial effort. Watch Diya TV’s exclusive story on how the short was conceived thanks to a push from Pixar legend John Lassiter.

Here’s the complete list of winners at the 88th Academy Awards:

Best Picture: “Spotlight.”

Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant.”

Actress: Brie Larson, “Room.”

Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies.”

Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl.”

Directing: Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant.”

Foreign Language Film: “Son of Saul.”

Adapted Screenplay: “The Big Short.”

Original Screenplay: “Spotlight.”

Animated Feature Film: “Inside Out.”

Production Design: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Cinematography: “The Revenant.”

Sound Mixing: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Sound Editing: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Original Score: “The Hateful Eight.”

Original Song: “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre.”

Costume Design: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Documentary Feature: “Amy.”

Documentary (short subject): “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.”

Film Editing: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Makeup and Hairstyling: “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Animated Short Film: “Bear Story.”

Live Action Short Film: “Stutterer.”

Visual Effects: “Ex Machina.”

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 

 

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Pixar Partners with Khan Academy to launch online storytelling course

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Pixar Animation Studios is partnering with Khan Academy to launch the first of six free online lessons covering the art of storytelling, the course is taught by Pete Docter, Mark Andrews, and other filmmakers from the renowned Disney-owned studio.

The new series includes Pete Docter, director of “Inside Out,” “Up” and “Monsters, Inc.”; Mark Andrews, director and screenwriter of “Brave” and story supervisor on “The Incredibles”; Sanjay Patel, director of “Sanjay’s Super Team” and animator on “Ratatouille,” “Cars” and “Monsters, Inc.”; and Domee Shi, story artist on “Inside Out.”

The rest of the “Art of Storytelling” lessons will roll out through the rest of the year. The internet classes include videos, exercises and hands-on activities to guide them from an initial idea to a final storyboard.

The first of the storytelling lessons is available now at PixarInABox.org.

It’s the third season of “Pixar in a Box” on Khan Academy, which first launched on the site in 2015. Past lessons from the studio have covered simulation, color science, virtual cameras, character modeling and rendering. Disney funds the Pixar collaboration with Khan Academy.

Information from Variety contributed to this report. 

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Anish Kapoor Awarded Prestigious $1M Genesis Prize

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — The Genesis Prize Foundation announced this week that Anish Kapoor, the Turner Prize-winning artist, has been named its laureate for 2017. The annual prize recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to Jewish politics and culture, it comes with a $1 million cash prize.

Kapoor, whose mother is Jewish, has produced several major public works, the most recognizable of them being the bean-shaped Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park. He also designed the Holocaust Memorial at London’s Liberal Jewish Synagogue. In 2015, for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, he designed a series of Holocaust remembrance candles.

Occasionally, Kapoor’s passions have spewed over into the world of politics. Kapoor said he will put the money from the Genesis Prize towards helping the Syrian refugee crisis, which has displaced an estimated 12.5 million people. No specific details have been announced, but Kapoor said he will make a much more elaborate presentation in June.

“The profound impact of Anish’s work continues a long history of Jewish contribution to the arts, while his social activism reaffirms the commitment of the Jewish people to humanitarian causes,” the Genesis Prize Foundation’s chairman and cofounder, Stan Polovets, said in a statement. “We particularly admire how, in an age frequently characterized by cynicism and indifference, Anish continually advocates for the world’s disadvantaged—challenging all of us to do more to help wherever and whenever we can.”

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Indian-American museum opens in New Jersey

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A case containing artifacts related to the success of Raju Sethi, founder and president of AVS TV. PHOTO BY HILDI BORKWOSKI

A case containing artifacts related to the success of Raju Sethi, founder and president of AVS TV. PHOTO BY HILDI BORKWOSKI

MAHWAH, N.J. (Diya TV) — A new museum saluting and celebrating the experiences of Indian-Americans in the U.S. has opened at the Hindu Samaj Temple of Mahwah in New Jersey. The temple celebrated its grand opening of the new 13,800-square-foot cultural center on June 5.

Built eight years ago beneath the temple, the space previously served as a multipurpose room for church activities, but will now be utilized to document the stories and experiences of Indian immigrants. It will highlight their achievements and struggles in a variety of fields, said Kalidas Kale, a temple spokesperson.

“This is our home,” he said of the U.S., “but we still want to maintain our heritage.”

Above the entrance hangs the image of the flag of India with a human fingerprint superimposed over it, meant to signify the sense of Indian identity. The room includes a stage with large bronze statues on both sides, and includes a state-of-the-art sound system with ample lighting for musical programs.

The area will also be used to serve local seniors and has classrooms for children’s language, arts and crafts, enrichment classes, space for dance practice and recitals, and even a yoga facility.

Decorated on the walls are collages of the four Indian-American honorees who spoke at the center’s commencement: Vipp Jaswal, head of International Affairs at Fox News; Rashmee Sharma, founder of Roshni Media; Raju Sethi, founder, CEO and president of AVS; and Dr. Sudhir Parikh, a physician and CEO of Parikh Worldwide Media. All four were chosen for their contributions in news media.

Additionally, members of the temple have held discussions about the possibility of dedicating a space to preserve the experience of the Indian diaspora across the nation. The talks have recently become amplified to keep pace with the successes of Indian-Americans in society, Kale said. The Indian-American community is one of the most highly-educated groups in the country — 71 percent of the country’s 3.1 million residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to 2010 census numbers.

“In all aspects we are trying to do our best and contribute to society,” Kale said.

The temple was founded in 1996, and has a membership of approximately 2,500 families. It provides religious, cultural and social services in New Jersey and the surrounding areas.

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