Project Kashmir

The limits of friendship and costs of war in one of the most dangerous and beautiful places on earth.

Project kashmir 01
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
May 18, 2010
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects
Diversity Development Fund
Kheshgi senain filmmaker bio

Senain Kheshgi

Senain Kheshgi is a Pakistani American journalist and filmmaker who has produced, written and directed projects for numerous networks including CNN, ABC NEWS, PBS, Discovery, as well as The BBC and Channel 4 in the UK. Senain co-produced her first feature documentary, The First Year with Academy Award winning director, Davis Guggenheim (Academy Award winner for An Inconvenient Truth) which was broadcast on PBS in 2001 and was awarded the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. She has also produced and developed projects with Academy Award winner Ross Kauffman, Shari Berman, and Robert Pulcini (directors of Sundance Award Winner, American Splendor) as well as with Sophie Fiennes (sister of Ralph and Joseph Fiennes and director of the BBC film, Hoover Street Revival). In 2001, Senain directed Family Recipe, Kitchen Diplomacy, and Project Kashmir, a feature documentary filmed by Ross Kauffman (Oscar-winner for Born Into Brothels). Senain has served on the selection committee for the International Documentary Association’s DocuWeek Documentary Showcase which helps qualify documentaries for Oscar consideration and she frequently speaks on panels and conducts workshops on ways to incorporate social justice engagement and documentary filmmaking. She serves on the Board of Directors of Ciné, an art and cultural institution in her hometown of Athens, Georgia and is also on the Board of Directors of The International Documentary Association in Los Angeles.

Patel geeta filmmaker bio

Geeta V. Patel

Indian American filmmaker Geeta Patel is a writer and director of documentary and dramatic feature films. She was recently visiting atist in Belarus and Turkey, as one of 29 filmmakers chosen for a new U.S. State Department initiative in the arts. Currently, she is writer/director of a narrative martial arts feature entitled Mouse. Geeta is also director and cinematographer of the romantic comedy documentary film entitled One in a Billion (ITVS/CAAM/PRI), executive produced by Academy Award winner Geralyn Dreyfous (Born into Brothels). Geeta directed the Sundance/ITVS-funded documentary feature entitled Project Kashmir (PBS/2010), shot by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Ross Kauffman (Born into Brothels). She began her career as the youngest associate screenwriter in Hollywood. She has worked with Disney, Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, ABC, NBC, and Twentieth Century Fox, including The Fast and the Furious and Blue Crush. She is a filmmaking advisor for the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), served on the nomination committee for the Rockefeller Foundation/Renew Media’s Media Art’s Fellowship as well as the International Documentary Association's DocuWeek and CAAM selection committees. She is a graduate in comparative area studies at Duke University.

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The Film

For more than half a century, India and Pakistan have fought over Kashmir, a lush mountain region nestled in the Himalayas. Dodging artillery fire and escaping rape or torture remains the daily reality of those living in Kashmir, but much of the rest of the world remains uninformed about this bloody conflict that could potentially escalate into a full-scale nuclear war.

In 1947, the British partitioned its colonial property into the separate nations of Pakistan and India. At the time, Kashmir was the only state with a majority Muslim population, but Hindu leadership chose for the region to belong to India — a decision declared invalid by Pakistan. The United Nations called for the Kashmiri people to decide their own future, but years of violence and a relentless diplomatic tug of war have made this impossible. Divisions have gone deep, and wrought deadly results: Since the conflict began, it has claimed more than 40,000 lives by India’s estimate; 80,000 by Pakistan’s.

Though more alike than they are different, Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Hindus remain divided by religious allegiances in the global diaspora. Project Kashmir was created out of a desire for dialogue between these two divided communities. Filmmakers Senain Kheshgi, a Pakistani American, and Geeta V. Patel, an Indian American, investigate the war in Kashmir and find their friendship tested over deeply rooted political, cultural, and religious biases they never had to face in the U.S.