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Shalini Kantayya: Filmmaking, Activism & Reality TV

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Filmmaker, eco-activist, and reality television survivor, Shalini Kantayya captured the attention of the nation during the television series ON THE LOT, a reality show created by Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett in search of Hollywood's next great director. Shalini was the only woman to finish in the top ten out of over 12,000 filmmakers. Winning the acclaim of Hollywood's biggest name directors -- including Gary Marshall, Michael Bay, and Brett Ratner -- Shalini proved her superb visual style and unique subject matter.

Combining biting social commentary with a dash of commercial appeal, Shalini's films aim to make social change irresistible. Her production company, 7th Empire Media, is committed to using media to give a powerful voice to the unheard. A William D. Fulbright Scholar, Shalini's recent film, A Drop of Life, a futuristic sci-fi flick about the mounting global water crisis, continues to garner awards, empower communities and move audiences. The film has screened at festivals worldwide, winning the Audience Choice Award at the IUOW Film competition and Best Short Film at Palm Beach International. Shorts juror Conrad Bachmann commented, “Shalini Kantayya takes us on a journey of society’s class system and the world of profit. In 17 minutes this film will change your life.”

In addition to filmmaking, Shalini finds it crucial to engage youth culture through activism. She has given over 15 keynote speeches in the last year to colleges, universities, and conferences nationwide. With key partners and supporters such as Women Make Movies, Working Films, Water for All, and the Center for Corporate Accountability, Shalini is impacting the lives of citizens in affected communities and tapping the viral energy of youth culture to engage a new generation in a large-scale environmental movement. At her most recent keynote at Arizona State University, she brought hundreds of students to their feet to commit to taking action on the causes they feel most passionately about.

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