Blue Like Me is a documentary that will profile Siona Benjamin, an artist, who was raised in a near mythical 2000 year old Jewish community in India.
Hal Rifken (Producer) has traveled the world on projects that cover a diversity of subjects, from music videos and artist profiles for Sony Music to a documentary linking exhumed Muslims war victims in Sarajevo tp grieving families. He has had documentary and corporate assignments with the BBC, the United Nations, Fortune 500 companies, and most all of the major networks. Recent projects include DP/Co-producer on the first major overview of Waldorf education in America. He produced a series on chef Martin Yan for the Food Network that took him and his crew to Southeast Asia that was one of the first travel/food programs that explored cultures through food. Profiling artist Siona Benjamin continues his interest in exploring issues related to cultural assimilation subjects.
Siona Benjamin is a painter originally from Bombay, now living in the US. In her paintings she combines the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today, making a mosaic inspired by both Indian miniature paintings and Sephardic icons. She has her first MFA in painting and a second MFA in Theater set design. She has exhibited in the US, Europe and Asia. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2010-11 for her project titled: Faces: Weaving Indian Jewish Narratives. Research for this project was conducted in India. The first exhibit has been planned for September 30 – October 20 2013 at the Prince of Wales (CSMVS) museum in Mumbai, India. Her work has been featured in: The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Financial Times, The Jewish Week in NYC and NJ, The Boston Globe, Art in America, Art New England, Art and Antiques, ArtNews and Moment magazine, to name a few.
Blue Like Me will profile Siona Benjamin, an artist who has a fascinating back story: she was raised in a near mythical 2000 year old Jewish community in India, and though most of the Jews from her childhood, like Siona, are now scattered around the world, some Jews remain and are the subject of her recent work.Other interesting tidbits that influence her art: she studied with Catholic nuns and Zoroastrian teachers, lived amicably among Hindus, Muslims and Christians. These experiences and influences inform a major theme in her art: how can we live peaceably amongst our neighbors who might look and think differently from ourselves?