Filmmaker Shalini Kantayya finished in the top 10 out of 12,000 filmmakers on Fox’s ON THE LOT, a show by Steven Spielberg in search of Hollywood’s next great director. The mission of her production company, 7th Empire Media, is to create a culture of human rights and a sustainable planet through wildly imaginative media.  Her science-fiction film about the world water crisis, a DROP of LIFE, won Best Short at Palm Beach International, a Crystal Dior Nomination at Tokyo Shorts, and was broadcast on national television in India and the U.S. The film was used as a tool to organize for water rights in 40 villages across Africa—making a real-world impact.

A William D. Fulbright Scholar, her film Manthan received the award for best documentary at the Asian American Film Festival.  Shalini has received recognition from the Sundance Documentary Program, IFP, the Jerome Hill Centennial, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, New York Women in Film and Television, and Media Action Network for Asian Americans.  She is a Sundance Fellow, a TED Fellow, and an IATP Food and Society Policy Fellow.  She was a finalist for the ABC | DGA Directing Fellowship.  Her work has screened at over thirty film festivals internationally.  She received an MFA in Film Direction from the City College of New York, and a BA in Media Studies and International Human Rights from Hampshire College.

Shalini is currently working on Chasing the Suna feature documentary that asks the hard questions of how a clean energy economy may actually be built, through the stories of unemployed American workers seeking to retool at a solar power jobs training program in Richmond, California.