screening of ‘a thin wall’ on oct 13th at westbury arts

pls join us for a screening of ‘a thin wall,’ a film about stories from the partition of india under british colonial rule.

on friday oct 13 at 7pm at Westbury Arts. i will be there to take questions at the end of the film.

the violence we are seeing in the middle east and elsewhere should be located within the context of european colonialism and the mutilation of land. on indigenous peoples’ day, it’s more important than ever to pledge our solidarity with all those under occupation and fight for land back.

decolonize now

decolonization is not just a theory or an academic conceit. it’s real, flesh and blood, human. it’s resistance to colonialism, oppression, and apartheid with whatever methods and resources one can access and procure. it’s an attempt to remove the boot on one’s neck, break out of one’s prison, and be able to breathe (as frantz fanon said). complete solidarity with the palestinian struggle for freedom. free free palestine!

artwork by @shirien.creates

film premiere at cinema arts

return to sender: women of color in colonial postcards & the politics of representation – film premiere at Cinema Arts Centre:

what a day yesterday! sharing a film with the world for the first time after months (sometimes years) of work, collaborations, and non-stop revisions, is something remarkable, a high that’s hard to describe. and then being surrounded by family, friends and community, to feel that love and engagement, is beyond thrilling. there are many many thanks, as always, but i want to start with the young people who attended the film screening and added so much color and depth to the conversation that went on for 1 1/2 hours. i am constantly impressed by the knowledge, thoughtfulness, and bold imagination of our young people. it’s something electric to be in their company and think together. here are some of the beautiful young folx in the audience yesterday. thank u!

film premiere and exhibition opening on oct 1st

tomorrow is the big day my friends! come to the premiere of a brand new film about colonial postcards and representation at cinema arts centre in huntington, 2-4pm. the screening will be followed by a discussion with nia adams, farhana huda islam and madeline del toro cherney. earlier, 12-1pm, join us for the opening of an art exhibition at huntington’s history & decorative arts museum. i will give an artist talk there. the huntington art walk will be on tomorrow and it will be a sunny day. get out of the house and join us!

testing ‘return to sender’

tested the film at Cinema Arts Centre today with the wonderful allie zalewski.

it’s always an overwhelming experience for me to see my films on the big screen. the footage for ‘return to sender’ was shot in 2019. i’ve been working on editing and post production almost all of 2023. to then see the product of that labor, in all its glory, on a huge screen with gorgeously clear sound, is incredibly emotional to say the least. how i love what i do.

thank u Urvashi, Sumayia and Fatimah for being the voices of south asian women in this film. thank u dylan and boris for shooting such stunning footage. thank u Rajesh for the beautiful rich colors and Darien for the amazingly well fine-tuned sound.

filmmaking is teamwork and one is only as good as one’s team. proud of what we’ve created together!

come and watch the world premiere in huntington on oct 1 at 2pm. there will be a post screening discussion led by farhana islam, nia adams, and madeline del toro cherney. don’t miss it!

hasan minhaj & the meaning of comedy

quick take on what’s going on with hasan minhaj. he’s a comedian people. and what’s comedy? what’s funny, when u get down to it and deconstruct humor? breaching rules and taboos, defying norms, jumbling together incompatible concepts, reaching unexpected conclusions, and plain old hyperbole. who fact-checks comedy?

i know that every time my husband tells a story, he takes some liberties with the truth – he intensifies, trims, re-contextualizes. that’s how comedy works, even when it incorporates social commentary.

also, just because his stories are constructed around ‘a seed of truth’ and can’t totally pass a polygraph, doesn’t mean that racism and islamophobia don’t exist. u should see some of the comments by white people on social media: “u are the reason we have a racial divide in this country” – i’m sorry, wha?

at a time when AI is fragmenting, distorting and challenging reality, it’s a bit cringy to focus on a brown man’s comedy and turn it into some kind of litmus test for the truth.

Return to Sender Panelists

Friends, as we approach the big day (Return to Sender film premiere at Cinema Arts Centre on Oct 1st), I wanted to give a shout-out to the amazing panelists who will be leading a post screening discussion along with yours truly. Here’s a little more about these remarkable women:

Nia Adams is a community organizer in the Long Island/metro-NY area. As a self-identified liberationist & pan-Africanist, her work is rooted in a multidisciplinary and intergenerational approach to end the carceral system. She is co-director of training at the Advocacy Institute and a Chapter Leader with the Working Families Party, Nassau County Chapter.

Madeline del Toro Cherney is a lecturer in the anthropology department at Stony Brook University. Her research centers on Native and contemporary Latin American culture and its effect on gender identification.

Farhana Huda Islam is a pharmacist, the Digital Strategist and Creative Director of Muslims for Progress, the chair of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, and the creator of a cooking series called Binyskitchen.

You can buy your tickets now from Cinema Arts Centre here.

This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by The Huntington Arts Council, Inc.

Libya Fundraiser

Dear all, the death toll from unprecedented flooding in Libya has risen to at least 11,300 people, according to the UN. Another 10,000 people are missing in the city of Derna alone. The devastation and loss of life are apocalyptic: “Videos of the aftermath show water gushing through the port city’s remaining tower blocks and overturned cars, and later, bodies lined up on sidewalks covered with blankets, collected for burial. Residents say the only indication of danger was the loud sound of the dams cracking, with no warning system or evacuation plan.” Since 2011, when Gaddafi was ousted (“We came, we saw, he died,” said Hillary Clinton famously), war and chaos have made Libya extremely vulnerable to natural disasters. This fundraiser is organized by the Libyan Student Association of Canada. 100% of the proceeds are going to the Libyan Red Crescent who are working on the ground in Libya. Pls help them meet their fundraising goal.

New exhibition at Huntington’s History & Decorative Arts Museum

Today I was able to hang the art exhibition ‘Return to Sender’ at Huntington’s History & Decorative Arts Museum with the amazing Emily Werner! 16 gorgeous photographs by Dylan Toombs and myself, 3 digital collages that celebrate South Asian architecture and fabric made by yours truly, quotes from the film that lift the voices of South Asian women, and an exhibition catalog one can access via QR code which details the history behind Orientalist postcards and the colonial male gaze (the catalog also has brilliant and moving personal essays written by my Stony Brook University interns Avina Mathias and Emelyn Pareja-Garcia). Hope you can check it out!

Opening Reception on Sunday October 1st, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Exhibit will be on display from September 17th to October 15th
Venue: Huntington’s History & Decorative Arts Museum
at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Building, 228 Main Street, Huntington
Hours: Tuesdays through Sundays (12:00 – 4:00 pm)
Pls call 631-427-7045 to see the exhibit outside regular visiting hours

This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by The Huntington Arts Council, Inc.

A Thin Wall at Westbury Arts

I am thrilled to announce that A THIN WALL, my film about the partition of India, co-produced by Surbhi Dewan, will be screened at Westbury Arts on October 13 at 7:00 PM. The film has been screened all over the world, most recently in London (just this past month). I will be there to lead a discussion afterwards and my mother will be present too. Her stories about this important chapter in human history, and those of other remarkable South Asian women, animate the film. This will be the first time she’ll be at an official screening of the film. Means everything to me. You can register now and buy tickets for reserved seats – pls click here. Hope to see you there!

Earthquake relief in Morocco

Dear friends, the situation is dire in Morocco. Nearly 2500 people have lost their lives. Others are injured, facing loss and devastation. A dear Moroccan friend has shared this fundraiser. Her family is helping people directly. She says:

“My sister knows these communities in the High Atlas after several years of organizing trips with her students to these areas and works with people from this region, who have been directly impacted. The majority of the people from the epicenter region, come from very modest means, and have now lost what little they did have – their homes, their loved ones, their community. My family will be working directly with these families – on the ground – with the support of other trusted Moroccans to ensure that donations are going towards priority needs.”

Many of us have traveled to Morocco and have associations with the country. Pls help as much as you can.

Return to Sender in Look Long Island

A wonderful story about my film, ‘RETURN TO SENDER: Women of Color in Colonial Postcards and the Politics of Representation’ in Look Long Island magazine! pls check them out and join us for the film premiere on Oct 1st, 2-4pm, at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington. For tickets, click here.

This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by The Huntington Arts Council, Inc.