Award-winning filmmaker and eco-activist Shalini Kantayya’s documentary broadens the often faceless climate change debate to include people of color and explore the possibilities of social and economic justice in a soon-to-be solar-powered world.
— Julie Anderson, LA Film Festival


Shalini Kantayya 's production company 7th Empire Media works to create a culture of human rights and sustainability through imaginative film and television. She directed the season finale episode for the National Geographic television series Breakthrough, a series profiling trailblazing scientists transforming the future, Executive Produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, broadcast globally in June 2017.  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.

Kantayya’s recent film, Catching the Sun,  premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was named a 2016 New York Times Critics’ Pick.  The film released globally on Netflix with Executive Producer Leonardo DiCaprio on Earth Day 2016. Catching the Sun was nominated by the Environmental Media Association for the 2016 EMA Award for Best Documentary.  It’s also part of American Film Showcase, shown at U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions around the world.  

Her award-winning sci-fi film about the world water crisis, A Drop of Life, was broadcast on national television in the U.S. and India.  Kantayya is a Sundance Fellow, and a TED Fellow, anda finalist for the ABC/Disney Directing Program. A William D. Fulbright Scholar, she has lectured at Princeton, Stanford, and Yale, among other universities across the U.S.


The journey to make Catching the Sun began because I was looking for hope. In post-industrial cities like Richmond, California, the dream of upward mobility is eroding. The oil economy has created monopolies and concentrated wealth and power in the hands of the few. I was inspired by the idea that solar power could democratize and decentralize energy in a way that creates economic opportunity for workers and entrepreneurs, and puts power directly in the hands of the people. Through an unlikely set of characters, Catching the Sun is about people daring to lead a massive global energy transition that is already rapidly in play.