Brooklyn-based filmmaker, educator, and eco-activist Shalini Kantayya uses film as a tool to educate, inspire, and empower audiences. Her new film, Catching the Sun, explores the potential of a clean energy economy through the stories of workers and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and China. The film premiered at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival and was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick. It’s also part of American Film Showcase, and will be shown at U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions around the world. Catching the Sun premiered globally on Netflix on Earth Day 2016 with Executive Producers Leonardo DiCaprio. The film won the Best Feature award at the San Francisco Green Film Festival. Grist called it “A solar documentary you’ll actually want to watch!”
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, and was broadcast on national television in India and the United States. The film was used as a tool to organize for water rights in 40 villages across Africa—making a real-world impact.
Shalini Kantayya’s work as a filmmaker explores human rights at the intersection of water, food, and energy. She has received recognition from the Sundance Documentary Program, IFP Spotlight on Documentary, New York Women in Film and Television, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Jerome Hill Centennial. She is a Sundance Fellow, TED Fellow, and a finalist for the ABC | DGA Directing Fellowship.