A Journey Home

Kavery Kaul always knew she wanted to make films. In high school, she read books on the subject and trekked into New York City from her home in Martinsville as often as she could for film premieres.

Now Kaul makes her own films, the most recent being Long Way From Home, presented by Unlimited Cinema. It’s a documentary about three American-born teenage girls dealing with cultural, economic, and societal divides during their first year at elite New York City private high schools: Cindy, whose parents fled the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; Sage, who takes her first steps away from her sheltered African-American community; and Sarah, a devout Muslim whose parents are from Egypt. A Rutgers Prep alum herself, Kaul was born in Calcutta, but her parents settled in Somerset County when she was a toddler. “I was probably the first Indian to attend Rutgers Prep,” says Kaul, who now lives in Manhattan. “This is not an autobiography, but I did face some of the same challenges these girls face.”

Kaul has made about a dozen films over several decades. Long Way From Home is her first film not being screened in theaters; instead it went straight to DVD on February 17. It is sold online through CustomFlix (www.customflix.com) an affiliate of Amazon.com. “Theaters have become expensive, and with everyone having overstressed, multitasking lives, they need access to films on their own schedule,” Kaul says.

She is happy to know that things at her own high school are different now, citing the larger Indian population that she may have helped usher in. Nonetheless, the filmmaker says that she cherishes her memories of New Jersey. “I loved riding my bike through the winding roads of Somerset County,” Kaul says. “That, of course, was back in the day when the closest place to get Indian spices was in New York City.”

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