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Bluefield, WV

I enjoyed the film "American Made" with the generational conflicts. However, I take issue with the premise that Americans would refuse to stop to help because of the ethnic implications. I live in a rural area and see amazing acts of generosity everyday by people helping total strangers of any race or background who are obviously in distress. You might get one or two who would pass by but what I've seen is actually several people will stop to help. The setting of a desert locale is even more an area where people will always stop to help or radio to police to come help for a stranded motorist. The danger is too great and people are too aware to let a difference of culture be a hindrance to rescue. The film was well made but is not a fair representation of the American people's willingness to help. I enjoy the Independent Lens presentations very much.
Rita LaMonica
St. Louis, MO

I just saw American Made for the first time, I must have missed it's debut in 2005/2006. I will probably remember this program forever--that's how powerful I thought it was. It teaches a lesson we have to be re-taught again and again because it's so important: We're all human. We're all in this life together. There are no THEMS and USes. Only US. Besides that--I had two powerful feelings: One is that I am almost certain that Sikhs aren't Muslim. And secondly--it made me be ashamed to be classified as a "white" person. I felt like a THEM. The BAD THEMS that won't stop and help. So not only did the film make me empathize with the Sikh family. It also gave me a feeling of what it means to be a THEM. It was great! I also thought it would make a wonderful (and easy to put on) play. It would be a wonderful production for high schoolers. 02/04/2008
Billings, MT

As far as I know, this film did not show here until Jan. 2008. The feeling I got was that this film's issues were intentionally aimed mostly toward white viewers whose families have been established in the US for a long time...and have forgotten many of the conflicts their own ancestors faced in this country. For this reason, I doubt that the filmakers intended to be -- or needed to be -- fully devotional to Sikhism, and did not intend any insult. It could be argued that white Americans would not be able to sufficiently relate to a "true" Sikh representation because there could be too many cultural bridges to cross, and crossing all those bridges would have confused and distorted the SHORT film's intention and messages/questions (not to mention budget!).

I see this film as speaking about the consequences of American cultural impacts upon all minority families. (All our families have been minorities/immigrants, but the majority of the population has had the luxury of forgetting the profound and deep ly disturbing conflicts that engenders.)

I also find it interesting that no other comments mention the Mother's role in the rescue: was I the only viewer who was constantly thinking about the famous 1920s movie scene of the couple trying to flag-down a ride? This brings-up all kinds of additional issues: the cultural "protection" of women in a dangerous situation -- preventing her from being the one who, in the end, may have encouraged their "rescuer" ... and that, even without 9/11, not much has changed in the past 80 years.

This film evokes a huge number of issues which also did not seem to be consciously considered by other viewers: adherence to religious duty in the face of scriptural denouncement of it; the vulnerability of risking "nakedness" both in the family and in public; the fears and obsessions encouraged by pop culture which made the younger generation more equipped but also more dysfunctional and unable to respond effectively when facing danger or survival; the obvious dolt-slap to white Americans (yes, I'm white, and I caught it, and we probably deserve it); gender roles: the family peacemaker is often the one with the least amount of expectation or power, yet in this situation was the one most able to bridge conflicts & cultures to help bring a rescue; issues of balancing losses in the face of death or survival -- what is most important in life? What perception of others is most important? And, did no one catch that the ride was offered only to 1 passenger, even tho the vehicle was a double-cab with an empty pickup/shell space? -- the whole family could have fit into that vehicle but wasn't offered the opportunity. Separation: which separations -- from religion, from tradition, from roles, from family, from expectations, from duty, from obsessions -- are harmful and which ones may hold the seeds for our survival -- ultimately "holding us together?"

The end of the film left us with both hope and fear: would the Father manage to find assistance in time, or could some other dangers still be lurking for him or his separated family? And, even tho the Father's duty was to be the one to go find assistance, he seemed the least-equipped to navigate the services he still needed to find in society, in order to get his family out of the situation: maybe the sons would be more familiar navigating the cultural and technical issues still looming in order to finish getting the family out of harm's way?

I loved how this short film effectively packed a ton of conflicts and transcending revelations. We can talk about "issues" until we're blue in the face, but this film compactly displays the ways American culture impacts every minority family in the US... and, ultimtely, all of us. Every day we all get too caught-up in our assumptions, and pass-up far too many gifts and chances to be blessings to each other. 01/28/2008
Bluefield, WV

I enjoyed the film "American Made" with the generational conflicts. However, I take issue with the premise that Americans would refuse to stop to help because of the ethnic implications. I live in a rural area and see amazing acts of generosity everyday by people helping total strangers of any race or background who are obviously in distress. You might get one or two who would pass by but what I've seen is actually several people will stop to help. The setting of a desert locale is even more an area where people will always stop to help or radio to police to come help for a stranded motorist. The danger is too great and people are too aware to let a difference of culture be a hindrance to rescue. The film was well made but is not a fair representation of the American people's willingness to help. I enjoy the Independent Lens presentations very much. 01/28/2008
Alan Owens
Ann Arbor, Michigan

The show says even when the times are hard, in this case when the American car brakes down-the Moslem family is still strong. 01/28/2008
Oak Ridge, TN

In reality if the car hood had been raised and the hazard lights had been on a passing vechile may have stopped sooner or someone may have called the highway patrol. We wrecked once on a busy interstate on a dark and rainy night no one stoppped but someone did call the highway patrol and they came in no time and we're caucasian. So while it may feel like discrimination it may just be a fear of strangers. But I have also been stranded on the side of the road in a busy city in the daylight and people did stop. I have also been walking home in the dark on the side of the road and no one stopped. 01/23/2008

It simply shows American ignorance, once again, in glaring light. After 9/11, many Sikhs have lost their lives just because the average American, who has no idea who he is looking at, falsely assumes that a Sikh is an Arab or Muslim and kills him. It is unfortunate since Sikhs have always fought against Muslim invaders and their religion has nothing to do with Islam or Hinduism, for instance. Since most educated Americans have zero knowledge about the world they live in, it comes as no shock when the Sikhs are unfortunately targeted. All this will change if schools begin to teach about other religions including Hinduism, Sikhism, etc, and TV promotes such movies as American Made. 01/23/2008
seattle WA

I used to lllove IL in general. While some films are good enough, the quality has gone down when the coordinator/director changed (6-8 months ago?). Before talking, I skipped through people's talkbacks: you left out the less than "good" news. Disturbing trend. If American Made wants to be a documentary, it failed: this is not real, and acting is poor. The topic is important, but the way it was handled here is mediocre and I am disappointed. Time to restore quality at IL 01/23/2008
Las Vegas, Nevada

I caught the tail end of this film and was moved by what I saw. As a parent, one hopes that her children will find the faith and hope that sustains us through the inevitable hardships and horrors of life. I think the father's head covering, although a literal symbol of one's faith is also symbolic of the inner faith that guides us and gives us hope. I enjoyed the scene where the son helped his father put on his head covering. It helped me realize that sometimes our children's faith is more powerful than we think...even when ours wavers. 9/25/06
Tina Vellone

I loved the film American made. At the begining I felt very sad for the father,being discriminated against is an awful feeling. I was not however very surprised by what the people were doing by driving by, although we as Americans are suppose to very advanced and very in touch with culture, at times we just aren't, granted after 9/11 it did make alot of people un trustworthy, but to stereotype a man for wearing a turban is just ignorant, and cruel! 9/25/06
Renata R
Utica, NY

When I heard I had to watch an independent film in my anthropolgy class I expected that I would be bored just like I had been while watching many other films in class. However, I almost instantly found myself absorbed by this film. I kept thinking: what would I do if I were in that situation? (the families and the passers-by)Would I have stopped my car? would I have taken off my head piece? I'm still not sure but I can't stop thining about it. 9/25/06
Elena P
Utica NY

I believe that compromising your identity and faith to fit into the American society is wrong and for some people the exact opposite reason why they came to this country. Most people, who immigrate here, do so for freedom and to be able to live the way they choose. If I truly believed that the clothes I wear were so beneficial to my faith, that I would suffer immense spiritual loss or break religious law if I didn't, I would continue to wear them. I don't know of any religion that holds material objects more important than your well being or your spirituality. I also believe that is ridiculous to be judged by the clothes you wear or by how you look but it happens all the time. People of Middle Eastern origin are judged on how they look and the clothes they wear, American society pays a lot of attention to the way people look. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. It is hard not to look at someone and judge them by how they are on the inside. Our first ipmulse is how they look on the outside. 9/25/06
Utica NY

Yes, I do agree with the filmmaker because I have also dealt with almost the same thing. My family is from Craiova, Romania. We moved here when I was two years old. Yes, I would wear clothing that made me stand out if it was for my beliefs. I have never had a problem with caring about what other people thought. Especially if it meant a lot to me. I'll be honest; yes I do sometimes find myself confusing people(and what they are wearing) with terrorism. It's horrible, but I am not educated enough in the different cultures and societies to tell the difference. 9/25/06
Vienna, NY

Well, first of all, I would like to say that I enjoyed the film very much so. I agree that at some point in time, in our nation, that every group has had or is currently having struggles in the American society. I agree with this because our history shows that people can be cruel and judgemental. It is courageous to wear something important and special to you, even though it may have people make untrue assumptions about you, but one shouldn't feel ashamed for it if one chooses to take it off. I, myself do not make assumptions based on appearences post 9/11. I find other cultures fascinating. I will end this stating that I appreciated how the writer/director ended his peice that he had an African American pick up the father when he was in need, and then him stating how he knew what he was going through, which tied everything together in the end of the peice. 9/25/06
Shannon Ortiz
Utica, New York

I think that being in America hving the freedom to express our own identity should be respected to a certain point. If no one is being harmed then expression is a normal human response to our beliefs. I myself feel very strongly about being a Baptist and refuse to compromise to make someone else feel better. Others may feel nervous around someone wearing a turban, but that does not make them a terrrorist. Look at the Oklahoma City bombing he was a Caucasian male. So do we walk down the street worrying about every white male who walks past us? I do not wear things that stand out in a crowd, but I know my language and convictions are different than others. For example I do not swear or drink alcohol. As far as being mistaken as a terrorist I cannot say if I would wear clothes that would be mistaken unless it directly violated my spiritual beliefs and values. Unfortunately, I do think in my mind sometimes when I see certain individual that their is the possibilty that they may hurt America. Recently on a plane trip my husband stated "and make sure you get off the plane if their are any terrorist looking people" I was traveling with my 2 kids and he was worried, but at the same time he gets very upset if someone makes judgemnet on him for being darker skin. I would like to think I could stop passing judgement on people based on their looks alone, but I do not think it will happen. 9/25/06
New York

American made clearly shows the difficulty immigrants face when coming into the United States. I truly do believe that all cultures and beliefs face the same type of discrimination when attempting to try and assimilate into American culture.It's important for individuals to follow their own cultures and beliefs even though society make mistake their true identity for one of an evil culture. Society needs to look beyond a persons clothing, to truly believe to see how they're. I honestly do believe that if I was in the same situation as the Indian family within the movie I to would to stick to my beliefs and continue to wear the clothing of my customary faith. Although many Americans have become judge mental and bias post 911 I do try not to discriminate against those individuals within the Muslim religion. Unfortunately it is hard to forget the individuals who are responsible for so many Innocent lives. 9/25/06

I really enjoyed the movie. It makes you realize that a lot of people are still judged the way Anant was. It is sad to think that someone would actually judge another person like that, but it happens all the time. It is just the way our culture is, and that is what is so interesting about culture. Every culture is different, and has different values. I agree that it is a struggle to share cultures. It is hard to convert to another culture when you are so used to your own way of life. I don't know if i would wear clothing that would "stand out," maybe if it was a part of my culture and it meant something. For instance the turban, i believe he had a right to wear it, because it represented who he was. I do find myself making judgements on some people. As much as i try not to, it happens. I think that happens to a lot of people. 9/25/06

American Made movie has made me think twice about my actions and thoughts about different cultures. Myself and others would probably think that when we saw someone wearing a turban, they were a terrorist. Yet, we tend to forget that wearing a turban is culture related and that is something that we have to accept. I do agree that different cultures are struggling to become American's only because I believe American's are hard to please, they judge, and sometimes aren't always that friendly. If I had to wear clothing that made me "stand out in the crowd" for my beliefs I probably would. I do stand up for my religion and my culture, even if it were mistaken for being associated with terrorism. My culture and country means alot to me and by excepting other cultures is part of that then I do not judge those of other cultures. I would have stopped to help them no matter what they looked like. That is part of my profession and also my dignity. 9/21/06
Utica, NY

My reaction to the video was that it was expressing various degrees of assimilation that had touched each member of the family and their acceptance or non-acceptance of each otherís adaptation. These internal family disagreements and the outside world attitudes are probably experienced by all ethnic groups arriving in a new country, there is give and take. It seems like the young want to belong and fit-in leaving behind old family costumes and traditions. The Japanese-Americans were housed in camps in this country during World War II. 9/21/06

American Made was a great movie in that it allowed us to see that different ethnicities and cultures continue to struggle with stereotypes. I feel that this film shows the post 9/11 views of how most people in the U.S. would react in this type of situation. It was interesting to see how the younger generation of the family reacted to the situation, and how they knew why people weren't offering to help. They knew they were being "targeted" and stereotyped. It's very sad to see that people stereotype the people in this culture as being "all bad" or terrorists. But this movie goes to show the reality of the situation, and that it happens everyday. 9/21/06
Monica Eichner
Utica NY

I really enjoyed this movie! I thought it made a good statement to people, saying that just because someone is different from you, doesn't mean they are bad people. These were just innocent people that needed help; no one would help them because of their Ethnic background, when it should really not play a big role at all. If someone needs help, just because they are different from you doesn't mean that they are bad people. If I were to drive by this innocent family that needed help, I would stop and see what I could do for them. There were many good points in this movie that I felt helped to express that just because they are different from you doesnt mean they are bad. People sterio type religions to often, and before they know the person, they don't like them. .People are to quick to judge other people now days. People should learn at a young age to be more accepting. Again, I really enjoyed the movie and I'm glad you took the time and effort to make it! 9/21/06
Julie Smith
Verona, NY

I thought this was an accurate portrayal of American present day attitudes toward different cultures. When the Sikh family breaks down in the desert and Anant tries to flag down a motorist now one will stop, because of his appearance. America is called the melting pot. We welcome all peoples of all nations. Anant came to America for a better life. Yet he is descriminated against and doesn't even realize it. Still he believes in the good of the American people that someone will stop. It takes his son to point out to him that no one will stop because he "looks like a terrorist" to quote the movie. He can't believe that people would portray him in this light. His son's have become almost completly assimilated into the american culture, his oldest going as far as to change his name. Yet Anant wants them to not forget their family traditions and culture. I felt sorry for him, that he had to basically give in to American Popular oppinions to get help for his family. In the end his son finally realizes how much traditon means to his father and helps him to preserve his pride. I thought it was pretty Ironic that a African American was the only one to stop and help. For years the African American has been the target of discrimation and he understood what the Sikh family was going through. Truthfully, I would like to say that I would stop to help, but I really don't know and that bugs me. 9/20/06
Utica, Ny

I loved the movie. I think that American Made was an accurate portrayal of how today's generation views their own culture and also the cultures of others. As the world is becoming more advanced and modernized, the latest generations are beginning to forget about their cultural beliefs and the traditional way of doing things. They are begining to lose their sense of identity. 9/20/06

This film was an eye-opener for me that people still judge eachother every single day. I do agree that each culture that tries to become a part of American society faces great struggle. American society often portrays the idea that we are superior, dominant and in charge. Anyone who is different has to go through great lengths to become "American". I do find myself making judgements, not on purpose but I do. I think it is imbedded in our culture to be fearful, and to stick with our own kind. I come from a small town where there isn't much diversity. If I saw someone on the side of the road I'm not sure if I would stop or not. This movie made me think about what I would do in each situation. 9/20/06
New York

I saw American Made as part of our cultural diversity class.It really hit home how hard it is for different cultures to come here and deal with assmilation,modernization and prejudice.Especially after 9-11,people are quick to judge others based on their looks and clothes they wear.This movie was well written and the actors did a wonderful job portraing the peer pressure of teenagers trying to adjust and parents faced with this dilemma. 9/19/06
New York

Even though the movie was short, i think it will have a long lasting affect on me. Its sad to think that a turban symbolizes terrorism. Yet, the movie made me stop and think, "do i do that". Do i judge people based on the way they look? In post 9-11 i do find myself sometimes making judgments for the wrong reasons. I think to myself, would i have pulled over? Since watching American Made, that question still lingers in my mind. 9/15/06
utica, ny

As a hole I believe this movie was a great example of american culture and its effects on the younger generation. That some values and beliefs are just shoved to the side. Peer pressure is effecting kids as a hole top begin with but when you throw that much of a difference from the "american way of living" it will cause teh child to reject thier own given culture. It depicted out a real life situation and made it into an eye opening expeirence on how the world looks at different cultures. It was not only well shot but well writen. I enjoyed the movie a great deal. 9/12/06
Manjit Singh
Martinez, California

I liked the movie overall. Yes, it is a constant struggle to upkeep a faith and traditon when it is not shared by majority society and that society is kept ignorant about it.

I agree that people are curious about what is underneath that turban and how hair look like, tied etc. But a Sikh is supposed to keep the hair covered with a turban except when washing and drying.

Even after having been grown up into a Sikh/Hindu home, I never understood Sikhism completely. It was more a ritual than anything. I was clean shaven till about 2003 but stopped cutting hair and started wearing a turban, gave up alcohol, eggs and meat. Sikh lifestyle is amazingly beautiful, peaceful, and wonderful thing and is totally out of this world experience. Some people label me a born again Sikh, but I say, I was never born (spiritually because that is what this life is all about). I wish more people knew and understood the beauty of Sikhism, what it really means to be a Sikh of the Guru, how can one become a Khalsa Sikh and the beautiful message of their living Guru Granth Granth Sahib, the spiritual relationship between a Sikh and the Guru and God, how music plays an integral part of the Sikh tradition in singing praises of God.

There was a point in my life when I hated everyone and that included myself. And, that was before May 2001. Notice that I did not say September 11, since that had nothing to do with me wearing a turban or being a Sikh, but it definitely added to the spiritual growth. But as a Sikh of the Guru, I can hug anyone on this Earth, no matter what they look like, what they are dressed like, what jobs (dirty/clean) they do, what country they belong to and what gender they are.

May Waheguru Bless America, and bring peace, love and compassion in people's heart everywhere. My condolences as a Sikh to the families of 9-11 victims. 8/14/06

I loved this movie! It was short, but it really hit me. I loved it so much that I showed it to my freshman geography class. They immediately recognized Kumar and really watched intently and we had a great discussion afterwards. I talk about assimilation in my class all the time, and even in a small town in Tennessee I had immigrants in every class who could offer their insights. Keep these coming. We have to talk about issues with our children. 6/14/06
Laurel, MD

This movie reminded me of when I was eighteen and my father and I had to pull over the side of Interstate 95 because of a flat tire that we tried to fix but couldn't. For the next hour or so, hundreds of cars passed us, but none stopped to help. (This happened over ten years ago, so neither of us had a cell phone.)

As the film showed, being stranded on the side of a highway can bring out a side of people you never knew -- often an ugly side. When we first pulled over, I was like the father in the movie, optimistic that someone would be nice enough to stop and help us out. But after watching hordes of faceless cars whiz by, I began to feel more like the son in the film -- cynical, assuming the worst of people. I, too, wondered if we were being discriminated against because of our appearance (my father and I are Asian). Out of frustration, I picked up a rock by the side of the highway and momentarily considered throwing it into oncoming traffic, but reconsidered and instead pitched it into some bushes.

My story's ending is a lot more pedestrian (in two senses). Fortunately for my father and me, we weren't in the middle of a desert; we were about a mile from the nearest highway exit. So after we'd had enough of waiting, we walked to the exit, found a gas station, called a towing service for the car and requested a cab for the forty-minute ride back home.

Although we got back okay, I wasn't unaffected by that incident. I think it made me more skeptical about the inherent goodness of people. It seems so elementary to help a person in need, but when it comes down to actually doing it, most of us find excuses -- we don't have the time, we don't want to endanger our personal safety, or someone else will handle it. It takes real courage and empathy to help a stranger by the side of a road. And until that day, I didn't appreciate just how rare those qualities were.

Based on my experience, I think the film realistically portrayed the way people would think and act in that situation. But it also managed to touch on some thorny issues -- discrimination, cultural assimilation, intergenerational differences -- that are relevant to Americans today. It's a wonderful short film. I'm glad PBS saw fit to show it. 5/24/06
Jacksonville, Florida

It is heartening to see such a program on TV. However trying to destroy one stereotype while still getting on the anti-arab bandwagon destroys the effect. As an immigrant myself I was thoroghly enjoying and identifying with the program till the dad stated "Arabs are terrorists, not Sikhs" This is truly unfair, since there are hundreds of Arab and Muslim famalies going through a similar identity crisis in the United States.

South Eastern Mass

I only caught the end of the movie so I hope I can catch the whole thing another time. As a black woman, I was interested to watch an experience of another person of color. I am also a daughter of an immigrant who I always thought was pro-assimilation. I assumed all immigrant parents were the same and it was interesting to hear the father's perspective on assimilation. I am also glad, at the end, a black man stopped to help them.


I didn't enjoy this film. I think in trying to disprove a sterotype, the filmmaker managed to include sterotypes of his own. I also didnt find it very believable. Everybody has prejudices.

Arvinder Malhotra
San Diego, CA

I am a turbuned Sikh who is also the father of two Sikh boys, 6 and 3. Even though, nothing in the movie was new to me, watching it still made me cringe. Raising kids in this society, who look different, is very challenging. How do you explain discrimination to young kids? One thing that I have always believed in is, irrespective of whether I have my turban on or not, I am still not an American, in the traditional way. The kids in the movie had cut their hair in trying to assimilate. I hope that I can raise my kids in a manner so as to make them proud of their heritage, whereby they don't have to melt-in because the society wants them to. Civilizations have and always will discriminate people by looks and stereotype them. The only salvation is to create more awareness and this movie is one more step in that direction.


I loved the film. It addressed a lot about assimilation into American society. I cried when the dad took his tuban off. I've been there. It's hard to recover so I'm glad his kid put it back on him. As far as making judgements, I don't think I do it. I'm usually more interested in why different people have different customs. I just wish their English was a little bit better so we could talk longer. Good Job. I also liked that I could identify with the characters. Good film.

Shawn Kathleen

As an American woman dating an Indian man I can relate to this issue on some levels. We get the strange looks, people think he is a terrorist and many think I am crazy to be with him.

I wouldn't want any person of any religion to feel that they have to hide their true identity to become successful.

I truly enjoyed the film and I thought it was incredibly done. We need many more films like this!


Actually as much as I understood what you were trying to get across in this short film, I didn't like the fact that the film portrays or has the viewer thinking that anyone white is racist. This is conveyed by the fact that the one person who stopped happened to be black. I dont' care who it is stranded in the middle of the desert, it is hard to trust anyone these days. I don't think that using that example was entirely fair. This unfortunately is how more racism and hate are spread. As one person said, "The comment made in the film by the father, "Arabs not Sikhs are terrorists" proves that when it comes to prejudice, we all have alot to learn-not just white people in America. Just as not all Arabs are muslim or terrorists not all Americans are racist! Give us a break, please.Unfortunately, as much as I wish it wasn't so, all of the human race has some form of prejudice.

Chattanooga, TN

As an American, born and raised in the U.S. I feel that the movie was some sort of sensitivity training propaganda for those of us who are somehow "opposed to all those who don't look or believe the same as me.". I love watching public TV but I constantly feel the need to monitor and censor my 5 year old son from stuff like this.

The idea of the eldest son being so "Americanized" to the point of playing him as the self-absorbed, techno dependant goofus so far from the heritage that his father had tried so hard to instill in him that he chooses to disassociate himself from his heritage and chose "Paul" as his public name.

In the beginning, the father believed in the American way (so much that he believes Jeeps are made by GM) but by the end, after being passed up by the "mainstream American redneck" so many times, another "minority" comes by to lend the "American" helping hand.

I believe that there will ALWAYS be some sort of racism in America because of movies like this. If the American government, news media, and outlets like this keep dividing people up into different sects and keeping them , we will ALWAYS have a racial divide.

Nancy C.
Philadelphia, PA

This film is a real gem. I was lucky enough to see it twice this week on pbs. I was moved so deeply. I cried both times. My eyes well up whenever I recall the poignant image of the father facing his youngest son holding the fabric of his turban. That scene breaks my heart. Bernard White (the father) is amazing in this movie. So much is expressed with his eyes. His inner conflict is presented beautifully.

How perfect that the one to stop to offer the family help should be an African American man -- one who wouldn't be able to remove a garment to avoid persecution and discrimination by bigots.

After viewing this film, I will have a very different experience the next time I see a person with turban in the airport.

I will be looking forward to more films from Sharat Raju.

Thomas E. McGrath
Philadelpia, PA

Rarely does a movie, let alone a short film stir me so. This piece moved me to tears, I'm still sniffling. I assure you, this is indeed rare. As a 31 yr. old male, ex-con (drug laws), I've been taught to stifle my emotions pretty well. The thought that anyone would leave 'anyone' stranded in any helpless situation like this, solely based on appearance. That, and the3 fact that I recognize that scenes just like this play out daily here, in airports, small town America, and yes maybe even here in Philly, the "city of brothery love". Maybe even in the yellow cab I rode in last month. The turban wearing cab driver's taxi I.D. said his name was something "Singh". Recognizing that name as Asian-Indian, I struck up a friendly dialouge with him, as I do often with cabbbies. In the short ride, we covered many topics, from Indian economics and corruption, to his wife in India, abd yes even his religion. I do forget every detail, but I do remember him extolling the virtures of love, forgiveness, ect.

la, ca people are missing the point -- the man removes his turban because he felt he had to -- or his family would die in the desert!!! i disagree with comments to the effect: "no self-respecting sikh would remove his turban", thereby teaching his children to disrespect their culture! yes, he removes his turban, and we are shown that this is extremely hard for him to do BECAUSE he has such respect for his culture and his heritage. but he doesn't want his family to die!! it is great to have values but you can not place them above the lives of your children. we (he) make certain sacrifices for our families. this is why our hero was so conflicted about what to do. don't throw stones until you and your family are stranded in the desert with no water. this is one heck of a brilliant film. and tremendous acting by bernard white, kal penn and sakina -- three of the best indian actors in the business. great job to sharat raju -- a director with quite a bright future.

Chicago, IL

I coldn't fall sleep last night and I turned on the T.V. I was flicking thru channels and I saw the American Made movie. Right away it got me interested in the plot and the way things where going to occur. All thoughout the movie I was hoping for the father not to take the turban off.

But, it happened. My heart fell as I saw the man without it. I felt sad that he had to take it off. It made me think that people will always care of the looks and not the person.

However, when the son, saw his father and place the turban on his head, it was a turn around of events that change the opinion of the son. That was a great scene.

I love it, times are hard for me as well as the country in general. Watching this made me think of many of us, not originally from this great country, struggle to keep our history, beliefs, religion, etc..

I appreciate this movie and eventhough it was short, it had very good meaning behind it.

Thank you

Olivia R.

I completely enjoyed the film, but saw it as a stuggle of people to find their place in their own family rather than the political view everyone else seems to be commenting on. V. good job by all the actors and the crew.

Linda Randolph
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

I watched both films and enjoyed them equally. When I came to this site to view the discussion about the films I see much talk about "terrorists", what I don't see is the insightful discussion related to racism in the United States. Remember the Black man who stopped and said that he had also been stranded on that highway for a long time. Is it terrorism, or is it the pervasive and widespread (amongst a lot of different visible minorities) racism in the United States?

Mary Ann

This was a very sensitive movie in many areas...prejudice, father-son relationships, assimilation and cultural tradition. The tempo of the film was perfect, allowing me to emotionally respond to each of the characters and to evaluate my own feelings. In a post 9-11 America I find myself even more aware of not making judgements about people based on appearance. I almost wish the man who stopped for the family had been a "Redneck"...abolishing even more prejudice. But alas...the writer knew what was needed to make the point. Well I'm off to learn more about Sikhs.

V.K. Wright
South Carolina

I thought "American Made" was truly a glimse into mainstream America, and how cultures other than Anglo are viewed by society.

Even though the faith of the father waivered by the urging of the youngest son, it was his father's beliefs that made him, the youngest son, realize that in today's world you have to belive in something. After the father took off the turben and exposed his long hair, if he had gone to the highway like that he probably would have gotten the same results.

When the family was finally rescued, it was by an African-American man who knew first hand what it's like to "stranded", and came to the aid of his non-anglo brother just as some non-white probably came to his rescue at one time.

People today are scared of how things look instead of how they truly are. I live in the deep south and come from mixed heritage and I have experienced the anxiety displayed in the film. So when I see people down on their luck I stop no matter what the cultural backround may be. American's as a whole need to come together and uplift oneanother because we are our own worst enemy. Judging people based on how they look instead of how they are is the hypocrites way of life.

Jasjit Bindra
New York, New York

I'm an American born turban Sikh. With the film "American Made," you had the opportunity to portray Sikh Americans as proud citizens who also carefully cultivate their rich heritage. Instead, your film characterized Sikhs as clueless, spineless people with little idea about the world they live in. Given the hostile environment we've faced since 9/11, it wasn't realistic that the father didn't anticipate being labeled a terrorist. Also, no self-respecting Sikh would take his turban off to either prove a point or accept defeat. This film may have started with good intentions, but it didn't follow through.


i enjoyed the short film excluding the part where he said "sikh's aren't terrorists, arabs are", thanks once again for making all muslims grouped into one catagory. i hope you picked up my sarcasm. and not all arabs are muslim, not all muslims are terrorists.

Phoenix, AZ

I was entirely impressed with this movie. This movie shows that though the majority of the American public is really not aware of the differences (in culture and otherwise) between the Sikhs and certain Arabs who wear turbans. "Not all turban wearers are terrorists" - A fact, but does everyone know that?
According to me, this movie's message is not just the challenges faced by the sikh community or any other community in this heightened alert atmosphere of today, but that most of the times, "We cannot really tell every book by the cover". Ponder on it!

Dallas TX

I absolutely enjoyed the movie, kind off an eye opener to people to show a side of differnt culture.There is something called "SIKHS" and is not muslims who wear turban in America. I congratulate the makers of the movie.

Beatrice Jackson

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Oneika Russell
Kingston, Jamaica

This film caught me unexpectedly flipping through channels. It was odd because immediately I was aware that these were not the ordinary or mainstream cast of characters. It is very rarely that minorities can have a pure voice in the media and this was so effective without overt emotion. The viewer was asked to take some of the responsibility for percieving what was happening to this family, which was refreshing. As a Jamaican, I do understand what it is like to watch the American media create a stereotypical persona for people who look, speak and act a certain way. This film transcended its specific reference to the Sikh religion but speaks for all minorities. Thank You.


I managed to catch the latter half of the film on PBS and loved it. I moved to the US at 32, three years back. Growing up in India I questioned all things Sikh as they were thrust on me; as a form of rebellion I cut my hair and eventually married a Hindu too. My relationship with Sikhism changed after I came to the US; I protest vehemently when asked if I am a Hindu and explaining Sikhism. As I seek a uniqueness, I find my being Sikh indeed is. I went back to Golden temple after 19 years last year. And yet I worry. I am a woman, I have short hair, to some I look as Hispanic as Indian. I am judged based on the way I look. The questions that resonated with me in the film were more to do with how Sikhs are being forced to give up their turbans in some countries. To me that is a complete violation; and how would my father be percieved here? He will always stand out. No wonder he refuses to visit me.

Maplewood, NJ

I just finished watching this, and it was beautiful. First of all, terrific performances, really hard hitting. The story wouldn't of worked without these actors. I got teared up when they showed the father had taken off his turban. Really beautiful story...Thank you for making this. I hope people who have misconceptions about who these so called "terrorists" after 9/11, will stop and think. We should only blame the individuals, not the religion or its' people.

maude gregson
laurel, md

I'll be taping the movie. that's my cousin playing the father. Mom's name sent me into a fit of laughter. After 9/11 my daughter was asked if she was moslem by kid she had gone to school with for years. my neighbor who had walked thru my house and eaten with me at my table. Accused me of terrorism and ranted about her god. i thought we had the same god. it was bizzare. the woman is a paronoid shut-in.


I stand out in Ohio as a White American wearing a turban. I feel like the candle lighting the way, vs. a negative person acting as a terrorist. The teachings of Yogi Bhajan has given me a positive projection to be able to elevate and uplift other Sikh's to keep their turbans. Let's invite all to raise our swords and enter into a new time and space in victory. Good Luck with your movie and keep up and you will be kept up.


Your movie has totally missed the mark and does not indicate the experience of the vast majority ofturbaned sikhs in this country.

The theme from your story appears to indicate to youths, that it is ok to be spineless and give up your heritahe or traditions in order to be successful in this country.

That as you know is not true, specically if you look at commnities like the Jews who have admirably kept their traditions and are full Americans in all respects.

My advice to you is to not show turbaned sikhs to be victoms. They are anything but that. Keep your movies as upliftig experiences so that our sikh American Indians can keep a high morale.

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