Screening: Out of Status by Pia Sawhney, Sanjna Singh

Tue, January 16, 2007 7:00 pm at Two Boots Pioneer Theater

(View all screenings »)

Out of Status by Pia Sawhney, Sanjna Singh 2005. USA. (70 min. English)

Official Selection Rotterdam, IDFA, Edinburgh, Amnesty International, and Asian American Film Festivals

*Director Pia Sawhney present for Q&A*

Tuesday, January 16, 2007, 7:00 PM

Two Boots Pioneer Theater 155 East 3rd Street (at Avenue A) Subway: F to 2nd Ave; 6 to Bleecker

Tickets: $10 Adults / $6.50 Pioneer Members Advance Tix:

Followed by FREE PIZZA & BEER/SODA at the Den of Cin

About the Film

Before 9/11, there was an implicit understanding between the INS and immigrant communities that people who had applications pending to legalize their status could reside in the country until an application was approved. After 9/11, and for South Asians and Arabs, the rule changed. The Muslim community, today, is alone among the vastimmigrant population to face such targeted enforcement. Out of Status follows four families whose lives were permanently altered, when a member was secretly detained or deported. Carma, an American with two children, sees her husband, Akram deported to Egypt. Their family has now been separated for two years. Two days after 9/11, Salem, a Pakistani-American, is charged with stealing a rental car and jailed in solitary confinement for 40 days. Hakim, an Algerian, faces the possibility of separation from his wife (a legal resident) and child for complying with a government program to register Arabs. The Rahmans, who are staying in a shelter upstate, wait to gain asylum in Canada. They, along with 15,000 other Pakistanis, leave New York rather than face deportation. Through focusing on individuals who are discriminated against by national security measures, this film helps the audience experience the fear of speaking out and see current policy through their eyes.

About the Directors

Pia Sawhney has worked in documentary for four years, and most recently on a production for Jennifer Fox, which will air on HBO next year. Pia's short film Out of Status, with co-producer Sanjna Singh, played at the Rotterdam, Edinburgh, and Amnesty film festivals among others. The feature version, in post-production, is funded in part by grants, and screened as a Work-in-Progress at IFP Market 2004. Pia and Sanjna are finalists for the Roy. W. Dean grant, and were nominated by NAATA for the ABC Talent Development Award. Pia has served as a panel judge for the SAJA Scholarship Award, was accepted to IFP New York's Project Involve workshop, and attended Bryn Mawr College. She has lived in the US, India, and the Middle East. Pia is completing a graduate degree in broadcast journalism part-time at New York University, and works as a freelance producer.

Sanjna Singh was born in Mumbai, India. She left at 17 for the U.S. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College magna cum laude with honors in both Political Science and French. Along with co-producer Pia Sawhney, she was awarded grants from the New York State Council for the Arts and the Experimental TV Center for Out of Status. The Queens Museum, Asia Society, Pioneer Theatre, Egyptian Theater (LA) and Angelika Film Center among others have screened their work. Sanjna was accepted into IFP's Project Involve Documentary Unit in Spring 2004 and was awarded the Eastman Kodak Final Pitch Award. Her personal essays have been published in the New York Times, among other publications. She has studied film and photography in New York and in Paris, and was a panelist at Amnesty International USA's Annual General Meeting in 2004. She currently works at HBO Studios in New York.

Last updated: 2007-09-12 10:20:40

Scene from Out of Status
Scene from Out of Status

Two Boots Pioneer Theater

155 East 3rd Street (at Avenue A)
New York, NY 10009
(212) 591-0434

Alwan Auction 2016

Join Our Mailing List:



Classes are currently being scheduled. Please check back soon for updates.



There are currently no upcoming events.


16 Beaver Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732 3261
Email Us

Alwan for the Arts is accessible to people with disabilities. Please call 646 732 3261 in advance, or, buzz at the door to arrange a ramp.

© 2020 Alwan for the Arts

Hosting donated by:, the Arabic Encyclopedia