Shyam Benegal, Award Winning Director, Screenwriter, Member of Parliament
Shyam Benegal is an Indian director and Screenwriter. With his first four feature films Ankur (1973), Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976) and Bhumika (1977) he created a new genre, which has now come to be called the “middle cinema” in India.He has expressed dislike of the term, preferring his work to be called New or Alternate cinema. He was awarded the highest civilian awards in India, Padma Shri in 1976 and the Padma Bhushan in 1991. On 8 August 2007, Benegal was awarded the highest award in Indian cinema for lifetime achievement, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2005. He has won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi seven time and was awarded the V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Mumbai International Film Festival.
Christina Marouda, Founder and Chair of the Board of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA)
Christina Marouda is the founder and Chair of the Board of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA), where over the last 12 years she has created, developed and expanded the film festival into a creative and business portal between the Indian and United States entertainment industries. She has developed key relationships with governmental, business and charitable organizations including the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, as well as with executives at major studios including, Walt Disney, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Fox.
Rita Meher, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Tasveer Rita Meher co-founded Tasveer in the aftermath of 9/11 to provide a platform for South Asians to tell their stories and create a more informed and just society through thought-provoking arts events. The desired outcomes are increased cross-cultural understanding, engagement of South Asians in meaningful community dialogue, and promotion of the work of South Asian artists. She was born and brought up in India, and lived in Japan before moving to Seattle. She is fluent in English, Hindi, Odia, and Japanese. Before becoming the ED of Tasveer in 2012, Rita was a video producer and editor for 12 years. She has produced award-winning public television shows and made her career debut on TV in Japan in 1995. She edited the award-winning Bangladeshi documentary “Threads” and made her first short film, “Citizenship101”, based on her own immigrant experiences. Rita has been honored by Northwest Asian Weekly as the Seattle Globalist of the Year in 2015, Rising Star in 2015, and Community Voice in 2016. She’s also been honored by the International Examiner with an Excellence in Arts Award in 2016. Under her guidance, Tasveer was nominated for the Seattle Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Arts in 2017. Her passion is to bring to light the stories of the South Asian Diaspora.
Niharika Chibber Joe, Prize Winning Poet, Published Writer
Niharika Chibber Joe, is a United States civil servant. She is also a prize-winning published poet and short story writer. Niharika speaks several languages, but writes in English, and sometimes in Japanese or in Hindi. Most recently, her work has been published in In All the Spaces: Diverse Voices in Global Women’s Poetry (2020), Millennium Poesy (2021), Earth, Fire, Water, Wind (2021), Lockdown Prayers (2021), Paradise on Earth: An International Anthology (2021), the upcoming Ruptured anthology, and in the Setu Online Literary Journal. Niharika is a racial equity, social justice and climate warrior. She holds a B.A and M.A. in Japanese Language and Literature from the Jawaharlal Nehru University in India. She also holds an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.
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