North of 49
North of 49 examines the aftermath of the Nov. 18, 2001 arson at, a Sikh temple in upstate New York. The four teenagers found guilty of the Gobind Sadan attack claimed they burned down the converted farmhouse because they thought the turbaned Sikhs who worshiped there were terrorism. The teens said they believed, Godbind Sadan, the temple’s name meant “Go Bin Laden.” Two were sentenced for four to twelve years in prison; two others received ninety days in county jail. North of 49 focuses on one perpetrator’s transformation from a confused teenager to a young woman prepared to accept and respect those different from herself.
Designated as a hate crime (a federal offense), the Gobind Sadan arson made international headlines and brought Oswego County the kind of publicity no community wants. But the might well have represented all of America following the 9/11 attacks. “The attacks prompted widespread suspicion and distrust of those different from the mainstream…the Sikhs have not been alone as targets of arson or other forms of discrimination,” says the filmmaker and Syracuse University professor, Richard Breyer.