FLATBUSH-BASED FILMMAKER SHALINI KANTAYYA was recently selected as one of 15 finalists in a competition to discover “inspiring and influential” filmmakers. As a passionate eco-activist and feminist, Kantayya was a natural standout at the Florida-based competition, hosted by The Doorpost Film Project. Her personal motto is “Lights, action, activism!”
“As a filmmaker and human rights activist, I believe film is the spark that can ignite positive social change,” says Kantayya. “I seek to tell stories that inspire, educate and empower audiences to see the world in a new way.”
The 31-year-old Top 10 finalist (out of 12,000 competitors) for last season’s Fox reality show “On the Lot,” is one of two female finalists in the Doorpost competition. Her winning short, “Vita’s Garden,” tackled the topic of pain by telling the story of a young girl’s search to find beauty in her sterile and desolate environment.
Like the other finalists, Kantayya has received $10,000 for Round Two of the competition, and has just a few weeks left to submit her 8- to 15-minute short on the topic of hope. The entries will be screened at a festival in Nashville this September where the grand-prize winner will be announced. The top filmmaker will pocket $100,000 and receive a trip to L.A. to meet with production companies.
Kantayya’s interest in filmmaking was sparked when she was 19 and visiting a Buddhist monastery in one of the 13 villages India gave to Tibetan refugees:
“I heard 800 monks chanting this deep-throated prayer and was acutely aware that this community was recreating their traditions in exile. Something sort of hit me in my heart, and I knew that there were stories that I needed to tell that I couldn’t express in words. This was before I knew aperture or iris or anything about filmmaking. I started to put imaginary picture frames on everything I saw, and it was almost as if I discovered my sense of sight in a new way.”
Learn more about Kantayya, her production company and her work at www.7thempiremedia.com.
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WHILE ON A SOUTH AFRICA MISSION TRIP LAST AUGUST, CLINTON HILL RESIDENT ROTIMI AKINNUOYE became concerned that so many children were running barefoot on the cold, unpaved streets. With other members of his group from Emmanuel Baptist Church of Brooklyn (under the guidance of Rev. Anthony L. Trufant), Akinnuoye conceived and organized the Brooklyn-based footwear initiative Global Soles.
“The children and adults living in the shanty towns of South Africa walk barefoot on rocky, dirt roads exposing their feet to rusty metals and glass, urine, feces and various bacteria which could lead to acute infection, including gangrene and/or amputations,” says Akinnuoye, describing his precipitating concerns.
On August 9, Akinnuoye and his Global Sole board members Oluwakemi Sosasnya, Sharon Milner, Christopher Green, Monte Chandler and Marilyn Bien-Aime will arrive in Johannesburg with their first delivery of donated footwear. As of press time, 2,000 pairs of new shoes and boots have been collected.
“I have been absolutely surprised by the overwhelming positive response we have received for Global Soles South Africa initiative,” says Akinnuoye. “Many people have made significant contributions.” Global Soles has plans to expand to Ghana, Nigeria, Haiti, Jamaica and Guyana in the next few years. Councilmembers Leroy Comrie and Letitia James are both supporting this initiative.
For anyone interested in donating, new footwear of any variety for boys and girls ages 3 to 18 years old must be received by August 4. For more info visit www.globalsoles.org. Drop off locations:
Council Member Leroy Comrie’s District Office
113-43 Farmers Blvd.
St. Albans, Queens
(718) 776-3700
Council Member Letitia James’ District Office
67 Hanson Place
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217
(718) 260-9191
43 Clifton Place
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11238
(718) 783-2816
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FOR MANY MONTHS, blogs have speculated about Brooklyn Brewery President STEVE HINDY’S desire to move the brewery elsewhere in Brooklyn. Was it going to Red Hook? Smith and Fifth? Pier 7? Now, after a four-year search for a new home, it appears the answer is “nowhere,” but not by choice. Although he has a $15 million budget, Hindy just can’t find anything he can afford.
The brewery, which helped pull Williamsburg up by its bootstraps over the last decade, is now trapped there. Articles in the Observer last month and the New York Times this weekend enumerate Hindy’s concerns and frustrations about prohibitive rent hikes and rezoning restrictions crippling manufacturers in this borough of industry. First established in Bushwick in 1987 and soon after moved to its current 75,000-square-foot Williamsburg space, the factory steadily grew until 2003. At that point, Hindy launched his search to move again, believing that with more space he could at least double his staff and increase output from 12,000 to 40,000 barrels per year, according to Gothamist.
“We are the Brooklyn Brewery, and we want to be in Brooklyn,” Hindy, who often bicycles to work from his home in Park Slope, told the Times. “If we can’t find a place, then who can? We’re about as perfect an example of light manufacturing as you can get.”
SCANDALOUS! STRANGE! THE NEWEST Miss Brooklyn was crowned on Sunday night despite the not-so-secret fact that she doesn’t even live in the borough. Leigh-Taylor Smith lives in Manhattan, where she moved after leaving the University of Virginia, says the Daily News. Organizers said they had to open this year’s contest after failing to attract more than two applications from Brooklyn. One wonders — how hard did they try to get the word out? Ultimately, Smith competed against six girls in a rather underwhelming revival of the pageant after a 16-year hiatus.
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TOMORROW, JULY 23, THE BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY will host George “Shotgun” Shuba of Dodgers fame as he signs copies of his book “My Memories as a Brooklyn Dodger” from 12:30 to 2 p.m. The former utility outfielder and left-handed pinch hitter played seven seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers, including three World Series and the 1955 World Series championship.