My name is Aekem Singh, and I am currently a sophomore in high school at Worcester Academy. I have been learning filmmaking for the past 7 years and am a part of Nishkam TV’s Production team. In this documentary, I have worked as a cinematographer and assistant editor.
I am passionate about the many different technical aspects of filmmaking. During this production, I had the opportunity to handle and work with a various selection of tools and gadgets that are commonly used in high-end productions. From the cameras used, to the lighting set up, and even the editing software that was harnessed, we were able to replicate a common Hollywood set. Some of the gadgets used include the Sony FX3 and Blackmagic 6K cameras, DJI gimbals, and a DJI drone. Over the years, I have begun to realize that the reason I enjoy working behind the camera is because of how rewarding of an experience it has become. Not only do I get to capture people’s emotions and share their stories, but also, I have had the opportunity to be introduced to a diverse range of individuals and cultures. Getting to hear and learn from their experiences has been eye-opening and inspirational, and I am grateful to Nishkam TV for giving me this opportunity at such a young age.
At the age of eight, I was involved in my first production. We created a short film where we used low-quality cameras and unprofessional equipment. However, as time passed, and our skills grew, we were able to acquire and operate professional-level equipment. The first instance of this was when we created our first documentary, Declaration of a Revolution. This documentary was focused on the farmer's protest going on in India. This documentary got selected at 20 film festivals and won several awards. After the success of our first documentary, we began working on a documentary called SEVA, which highlighted the Covid-relief efforts of the Sikh community during the pandemic. PBS acquired SEVA, which will be shown on its World One channel. Now we are working on our third and most powerful documentary, Baywatana.
Working on Baywatana has been an enriching and unique experience. As a team, we traveled worldwide to the UK, India, Canada, and New York to meet and interview refugee families and the corresponding organizations that helped them. One core memory from our travels is transporting 12-13 bags full of equipment. Across all this filming, I learned that teamwork is one of the most valuable things you can have. Working as a team helps you work more productively and effectively. I also learned to trust my peers better, allowing me to connect with them more.
In 2020, I created a video that brought awareness to a terrorist attack on a Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) in Afghanistan that killed 25 Sikhs and Hindus because no mainstream media was talking about it. This motivated me to create a more significant project on the struggles faced by Sikhs and Hindus living in Afghanistan as this is not the sole instance of hate crimes against minorities in Afghanistan and their stories tend to be overlooked and forgotten.
I hope this documentary will bring awareness and shed light on the stories of the many families affected. I believe the stories told in our documentary will touch the hearts of others as these tales are a testament to the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
My experience in Baywatana has made me realize that storytelling is a powerful and versatile tool because not only can it inform people, but it can also inspire and motivate them. Additionally, storytelling evokes emotions, creating a deep connection with the story being told.
Along with my interest in filmmaking, I also love sports. Basketball and football are the two sports that I play and follow. I am on my high school’s football and basketball teams. I also love being with my friends and serving the community.