Director Kavery Kaul believes that films can connect people to each other and break down cultural divides which is exactly what her new documentary, “The Bengali” achieves.

When the director learned that the African American author, Fatima Shaik, wanted to trace her Indian grandfather’s past, Kaul was intrigued. Kaul knew that Indians had come to the U.S. before the 1924 Asian Exclusion Act and married African-American women. And although Black and brown populations are continually pitted against each other, African Americans and South Asians in the U.S. have a long history to be reclaimed. 

African-American author Fatima Shaik (right).

A Quest to Find Family
Shaik’s quest to reclaim her own personal history takes her to an Indian village that no American had visited before.  The 71-minute feature documentary follows Shaik’s journey from New Orleans to India in search of her family’s past — and reveals the untold story of ties between African-Americans and South Asians in the U.S. — the legacy of global migration.

CASCADIA is proud to present this beautiful new film for Black History Month.  It’s available online here from Friday, February 4 through Sunday, February 13 to our viewers in Washington, Oregon and Greater Vancouver B.C.  Tickets are $10. The film may be viewed for 48 hours after the time of purchase.  Watch the trailer here.

Watch CASCADIA’s Conversation with the Director

“The Bengali” director Kavery Kaul.

Before watching the film, check out CASCADIA’s conversation with Kaul and Shirley Jo Finney, director and a member of CASCADIA’s final program selection team.  Their lively conversation about Kaul’s perspective of the documentary and her production process provides additional insight about the film. The conversation is free and available to everyone (regardless whether or not you purchase a film ticket) on our website now and will remain there after the film ends February 13.

You can also listen to Kaul’s 2007 Ted-X talk here for more on her thoughts about her art of documentary filmmaking and how films break down cultural divides.

Enjoy the film and thank you for supporting CASCADIA and its women directors!