French for Foreigners shows in New York City

FLE Group Shot

FRANCAIS LANGUE ETRANGERE, Kartik SINGH, 12m30s, 2009.  In a French for foreigners language course, a heated debate arises between two Muslim women over the right to have Muslim headwear on during class.

The film will be premiering this month at the Urbanworld Film Festival.  It shows in the Shorts 2 program at the

Herald Square AMC (34th St. between 8th & 9th Ave.) on:

Thursday, September 24th at 12:15pm

Saturday, September 26th at 1:30pm

Since making this film in January 2009, the response has been wonderful.

I am so grateful that this film even got made, as it all came together by accident.  After the success of Saving Mom & Dad, I had no plans to make another short film.  I felt ready to move into features.  This transition has been enjoyable, but longer than I had imagined.  SMD shot in February 2007, so by late last year, I was dying to be back on set, working with actors, making another movie.

How do you make a film when you have no money?  None.  Zilch.  Enough to pay for a few meals at best, definitely not enough to rent stuff and hire folks.  For the past 3 years, I have been teaching film for a technical high school and college in France.  One fine day, I asked what they do with the equipment when it’s not being used by the students.  Long story short: we turned my project into an official school project.  I selected a DP (director of Photography) and the rest of the crew is 20 year olds who had never made a movie.  This brought a lot of fun and unpredictability to the set as you can imagine.

It was deeply satisfying for me to make this film.  Islam in Europe is a sticky situation to say the least.  I am fascinated by this question of how people should live.  How should the immigrant behave in her new society?  In this case, two immigrants are in total disagreement about whether to wear the veil.  I believe this confusion is present for many in France.  I was especially interested in dealing with this subject after the 2004 law forbidding expression  of any religious signs in schools and town halls.  While I think the law targets Islam, my own community, the Sikhs, are caught in the crossfire.  The issue resonates with me, and I spent last fall developing the script.

I had the pleasure of working with fine actors.  The two leads, Behi Djanati Atai and Maud Buquet have each done several feature films.  In fact, while making our film, Behi was promoting three other features, including an amazing film For a Moment, Freedom, in which she plays the lead.  It’s a wonderful film, powerful in emotion and bittersweet.  (I mentioned it in my list of favorite films from last year).

I’m so glad to be back in New York with another film, and I can’t wait to see how it is received by audiences.


About kartiksingh

I have been living in Paris, France since 1996. I was born to Sikh parents who immigrated to the USA. I grew up outside of Kansas City, and at 18 went to Washington DC with the intention of becoming a diplomat. Five years later, I arrived in Paris and found my life purpose: to make films that bring hope, insight, and inspiration to the world. My debut feature film Callback premieres in September 2010 in New York. For more details on where you can see my films, look for me at
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to French for Foreigners shows in New York City

  1. Melanie Cassidy says:

    Hey Kartik:
    Good luck in New York and congratulations on figuring out how to get this film made. Academia is amazing for people who make work and can share their skills and experience with students. Everyone wins. Nice to be back in touch.
    Best, melanie

  2. steve says:

    hope to be able to see the film. Would you be so kind as to send congratulations and best regards to Behi from Steve Hohenboken, formerly of Corvallis, OR? Feel free to send my email address to her, as well. Thanks much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s