I am a first-time film-maker. My family migrated to England from India in 1958 where I lived until my 1991 arrival in to the USA. Due to British racism, my father never had adequate employment. My schoolteacher mother supported my father and her three daughters in Southall, London. Her commitment to us, politics, and to her job – although she was a teacher of mathematics she worked closely with South Asian students in all aspects of their future – taught me the importance of working outside one’s private needs and desires. Outside of my paid employment, at times I worked with television and radio production, as well as street theatre. After the airing of Resist and Survive (February 1983: Channel 4), Granada Television offered me a six month contract. I had to turn down the Granada offer as I needed more financial security than that job offered.
By the time I was thirty I had worked in Polytechnics, as an educational psychologist and at the Open University, where I also worked with the BBC’s Education Department. In 1983 I gave up my comparatively well-paying job and became a student at King’s College at Cambridge University to fulfill my curiosity about working class youth in Britain: that resulted in my first book Talking Politics. Since then, I have had a fairly successful academic career (my research has covered racism, feminism, women in prison and development studies; my invited keynote addresses include presentations in South Africa, Brazil, Sweden, as well as at Yale; I was the inaugural editor at Smith College for the new journal Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism) as well as a happy personal life. I was an International Observer in the 1994 elections in South Africa and an invited participant at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001.
My background is in teaching, bringing film-makers to the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB: my university), working with a range of media, as well as being knowledgeable about the Third World issues. I am known to be an outstanding teacher and speaker and have won a number of awards for my presentations. All of this makes me the ideal person to direct, produce and complete this unique documentary. I have a fresh eye, I avoid stereotyping, resist polemical presentations, and, having taught with a large number of documentaries about the Third World, have a good sense of the ideas and issues that work best to develop a strong narrative. This is confirmed by the scholarly grants I have received for this project, as well as the financial support from the Ford and LEF foundations. My advisors include a number of experienced film-makers who have been encouraging me to continue on the film and bring it to completion.
- Kum Kum Bhavnani