Feature documentary in post-production. Supported by CAAM/PBS and Ford Foundation/Just Films.
In Search of Bengali Harlem unearths a unique, little-known story of twentieth-century Harlem and of Muslim immigration to the United States. Between WWI and the 1940s, hundreds of Muslim ship workers from the region that is now Bangladesh were either left in port or abandoned their ships in New York City. A group of these Bengali men had settled in Harlem, married Puerto Rican and African American women and became a small and quietly integrated part of the larger neighborhood. The film follows the son of one of those man, comedian and actor Alaudin Ullah, while weaving together interviews, archival footage, family photographs, and historical documents with an original soundtrack by celebrated jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer, combining the sounds of Bengali folk music, Blues, Jazz, and Bomba.
Directors: Vivek Bald & Alaudin Ullah