On March 9 the Forever Welcome Foundation and Welcoming KC are hosting the world premiere of Alien, a documentary that takes an intimate look at the lives of five highly skilled Indian immigrants as they build lives and families in this country in an uphill battle toward their American Dream.
Following the film, a panel, including Sunayana Dumala (who is featured in the film), filmmaker Vidyut Latay, and local immigration attorney Rekha Sharma-Crawford, will be held. The event is called “Fairness & Belonging: Discussing the State of the American Immigration System.”
Dumala is also the founder of one of the presenters of this film, Forever Welcome, a nonprofit that fosters welcoming communities for immigrants through awareness, advocacy, and action.
Dumala created this organization after her husband, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was killed in a hate crime at Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe, February 22, 2017. The premiere will coincide with what would have been Srinivas’ 39 birthday.
Dumala’s hope, along with her team at the Forever Welcome Foundation and the makers behind this documentary, know that new immigration policies need to be created in the United States to protect people from hate crimes. She hopes that this film can raise awareness and help drive that change.
“Six years ago, when tragedy knocked on my door, I received overwhelming support from all corners that made me believe this is indeed my home,” Dumala says. “Today, I’m able to stand up, continue to fulfill those dreams perhaps with a new purpose and mission. By bringing this film to Kansas City, I hope we can move the conversation into action for change.”
Vidyut Latay the filmmaker behind Alien is also originally from India and an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her debut groundbreaking film, Beyond Silence screened twice on PBS and is one of the first documentary films about deaf people in India.
She also wants to shed light on the unfair and unjustified treatment that many high-skilled immigrants face in the United States.
“The U.S. media’s focus on undocumented immigrants means that many Americans know little about legal high-skilled immigrants and their inhumane battles,” Latay says. “My film seeks to spark and contribute to public discourse on this overlooked issue and contribute to meaningful policy reform.”
The third panelist is Rekha Sharma-Crawford, a nationally recognized immigration attorney based in Kansas City. She is also the author of Alaliyah the Brave, following the emotions of a child going through immigration enforcement and its aftermath.
The panel is also being mediated by Mary Sanchez, a nationally syndicated columnist and native Kansas Citian. She is currently a senior reporter for Kansas City-PBS/Flatland and has spent years reporting on race, class, criminal justice, and educational issues.
The other event sponsor, Welcoming KC, is a program by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce that focuses on building infrastructure for an intentionally inclusive community.
Welcoming KC is working towards making Kansas City a Certified Welcoming City.
This night is meant to be a time of reflection on the current state of the U.S. immigration system and how it vastly needs to be improved. It will be a time for open dialogue and education for everyone that attends.
The film and panel will be held at the Glenwood Arts Theatre in Overland Park, KS. The event is free but registration is requested. Check-in starts at 5:30 p.m. and the film premiere will begin at 6:15 p.m.