You might remember Angad Singh, CC ’16, and Chris Canales, CC ’14, from last year’s viral-on-a-campus-scale “Columbia Style” music video. But they’re more than just a few dance moves and a parody on a Korean pop star—they’re out there to change the world. This summer they traveled to India to film a documentary on sustainability, and they are working on setting up a leadership development program in the area. They also might have another music video coming out tomorrow…
How did you guys pair up for the Columbia Style video last year?
Chris was actually my RA on Carman 5. I swiped him into Ferris and we started talking about making a video together. At the time I was obsessed with Gangnam Style and also a bit bitter that athletics didn’t bother to involve my team in their parody version.
Did you become campus celebrities?
How did you think up the idea to go to India?
Last April, I was thinking about my experiences teaching in a rural school system in the state of Punjab, India in the summer of 2012. I was also worrying about how I was really too late to jump on the internship train. Throughout the year I also had read about the sustainability issues plaguing Punjab since the beginning of the green revolution and found the complexity of the various environmental, social, medical, and economic issues to be perplexing and saddening. Having made documentaries on social issues since I was 13, I decided I wanted to continue that sort of filmmaking and saw Punjab as the perfect opportunity.
I asked Chris if that was something he would be interested in. Although he had an internship lined up for the summer, he was very excited about the opportunity and we began planning.
Was it a struggle to get there?
One of our biggest worries was funds. Most Columbia deadlines had passed and I had to reach out to private donors to raise approximately $7000. I was able to meet with and reach out to many Punjabi-Americans and was fortunate enough to raise money to go.
What was your goal there and what did you do?
Our goal in Punjab was to film a documentary highlighting the sustainability crisis of the region, particularly through the lens of the youth. We visited many villages, universities, cities, farms and everything in between. We shot 41 interviews and have about 45 hours of footage from Punjab. We hope to finish the film by next semester and arrange for a World Premier here at Columbia.
The goal of the documentary itself is not only to inform about the tragedies that plague the “breadbasket” of India, but to recruit individuals and get support for a leadership development program we want to start with the Akal Academy school system (who also sponsored our most of our lodging and transportation while in Punjab). This will be something I want to develop over the next few years at Columbia.
The documentary is far from done, we have yet to start editing. However as for the Columbia Style side project we did while in Punjab…all I can say is Macklemore + Turbans = September 5th :)
Hey sexy lady from Youtube