School of Media Studies

THE BENGALI by Kavery Kaul: An Untold Story of Ties Between South Asians and African-Americans in the U.S. 

Special screening of THE BENGALI, dedicated in loving memory of Michelle Materre.

Acclaimed filmmaker, Kavery Kaul, dedicates the September 10th at 7:00 pm screening to long-time friend and colleague, Professor Emeriutus of Media Studies at The New School and Founder of the Creatively Speaking Film Series, Michelle Materre

Join School of Media Studies/Media Management Professors Neyda Martinez and Mark Walton who will remember our beloved Michelle Materre with director Kavery Kaul in an intimate conversation after the screening followed by a Q & A with the audience. 

  • Day & Date: Saturday, Sept 10, 2022 
  • Time: 7:00 pm 
  • Place: Quad Cinema 34 West 13th Street, NYC
  • Running Time: 72 minutes 
  • Price: A discounted price of only $13 per ticket upon presenting a valid New School ID at the Quad Cinema box office. 
  • Film: The Bengali by Kavery Kaul: “Every family begins with a journey” 

An unlikely quest takes an African-American woman from New Orleans across deep divides of culture to India, in search of her family’s past. Directed by Kavery Kaul, her journey sparks a boldly different encounter between East and West.  “In this documentary, award-winning filmmaker Kavery Kaul unfolds the fascinating story of the first South Asian male immigrants to the U.S. who married African-American women and made a home in the black community.” – Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Click here to view the trailer

A note from Kavery Kaul:

Michelle was my friend and colleague of many years. She programmed my film FIRST LOOK many years ago. It was my first film, and one of her first programming ventures. Since then, she was always there with professional support, which I found helpful  — and personal advice about yoga and other health matters, which I didn’t always follow, but she knew that. She was very excited about THE BENGALI from the first time she saw it even before it was finished. She invited me to her panel on African Migrations at the Smithsonian to talk about this intriguing flip on that story — the migration of Indian men who found a welcome in the African-American community. We talked and talked about the journey she was planning, to search for her own ancestral roots in Africa. The last time she called me was from one of her favorite places, Martha’s Vineyard. She told me she was making progress with the written proposal for her trip, and wanted to talk to me about her project when she got back to New York. That never happened. But I’d like to believe she’s in Senegal or Mali right now, and that she’s found family there. I know she’d be excited that THE BENGALI will be released theatrically. She wanted to be a part of all that. In fact, she herself had said, “It should play at the Quad.” She always got behind our “different stories”, our work as women of color. I’d like to dedicate a screening of THE BENGALI at the Quad to Michelle. It would mean a lot to have the event hosted by the New School, the community she was so much a part of, because Michelle who championed films like this one, would want us all to be there together — with her.  

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