Writer, Director to attend Screening of Post-9/11 Documentary

October 24, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Illinois Wesleyan University's South Asian Student Association (SASA) will host the Midwest premiere of the documentary Divided We Fall, Americans in the Aftermath Friday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Hansen Student Center, 300 Beecher, in Bloomington.

Co-producers Valerie Kaur, who wrote the film, and Sharat Raju, who directed, will attend the event and answer questions after the screening.

The film documents the largely untold stories of violence against Sikh and Muslim Americans in the aftermath of September 11.  According to the FBI, in 2001 there were 1,501 recorded hate crimes against Muslims-four times more than in 2000-and nearly 80 percent of the 2001 crimes took place in the month of September.

Prompted by episodes of violence in her community, Kaur left Stanford University during her junior year and began filming the documentary less than a month after 9/11.  Over four months, she and her cousin, who was her cameraman, traveled to 14 cities to capture the sense of fear, loss, resilience and hope expressed by Americans in the wake of the tragedy.  Kaur then returned to Stanford and incorporated her findings into an honors thesis, which won Stanford's Golden Medal for the Humanities in 2003.

In 2004, award-winning director Raju and his film crew joined Kaur, retracing her steps across the United States in order to turn her amateur film into a feature-length documentary.  Five years after Kaur began her trek, the team released the film on Sept. 14, in commemoration of the death of Balbir Singh Sodhi, the first victim of a post-9/11 hate crime.

For additional information about the film screening, contact SASA President Amee Patel at apatel@iwu.edu.

Contact: Rebecca Welzenbach, (309) 556-3181