Filmmaker and Pittsford resident Mara Ahmed has always been fascinated with the differences between people, but never in the divisive sense. Instead, through her filmmaking, she has been working actively to reconcile those differences and demonstrate how they ultimately make us one human race. Her first film, a documentary titled “The Muslims I Know,”is one example of her striving toward that goal. In that film, she chronicles the lives of Muslims living in the greater Rochester area, presenting them as everyday people first, Rochester residents second and everything else afterwards.

It is with that goal of reconciliation in mind that Mara Ahmed began producing her third film, an as-yet-untitled documentary about a particularly tumultuous time in the history of South Asia: the British post-colonial partition of the Indian subcontinent into the modern-day nations of Pakistan and India. Ahmed’s mother’s family, which originally hailed from India, is one of many sources of stories cited in the film, all of which center around the bitter divisions that arose as a result of the partition, in spite of the coexistence that preceded it.

Tell us more about your upcoming film? What is it about, and what can audiences expect?

This will be my third documentary film, and it is about stories of partition. The British, upon their departure from India, divided the nation into three parts: East and West Pakistan, and India, the basis being religious demographics. … It’s essentially the trauma of the Indian subcontinent. I wanted to make this film because my mother’s family immigrated from India during this tim,e and I grew up hearing their stories. When I encountered fellow filmmaker Surbhi Dewan at the Rochester Institute of Technology, whose family made the same journey in the opposite direction, we decided to collaborate on this film to preserve people’s personal stories.

Who is involved in the production of this film?

In addition to myself as director and Surbhi Dewan as co-producer, we’re also collaborating with animator Gayane Bagdasaryan, an RIT graduate who is currently working for the Alexandr Petrov Animation Studio in Russia. Her animation for this film is about re-creating the time before the partition, when the various peoples of the Indian subcontinent were able to coexist peacefully. In addition, for post-production, we’ll work with Dave Sluberski of West Rush Productions, based in Rush, and Chuck Munier of NXT Media in Fairport. We’re also working with Sunny Zaman, a musician from Pittsford, who will contribute original music to the film.

What do you feel this film can teach the greater Rochester community at large?

This film has lessons that everyone can and should learn regardless of background. What happened in India during that time could be applied to many conflict zones around the world: Iraq, Bosnia, Libya, anywhere. It’s also a lesson for all of America in light of the anti-Muslim sentiment that has arisen after 9/11. Cultural diversity is an asset, not a liability, and it’s important to learn about and respect those differences. It’s especially important to learn this in today’s modern world, with the advent of globalization and the intermixing it encourages.

What has it been like working with the greater Rochester community to produce your films?

It has been a really wonderful experience doing this kind of work in Rochester.The Rochester community has been very supportive, very helpful. When you’re working on films that teach people to see others as humans first, other people are naturally attracted to work on such projects. Also, Rochester, as an audience, has been a very responsive and welcoming community.