Rakesh Rao is a Photographer/ Filmmaker and a science enthusiast and specialises in documenting scientific expeditions and research activities. His recent film “ The Climate Challenge” won the Best Science Film award at the International Science Film Festival of India.
He has spent 14 months over the span of 3 years in the icy continent of Antarctica to document the construction of the third Indian Scientific Station ‘BHARATI’ at Larsemann hill, Antarctica. He also developed a documentary film following the Indian scientist researching on the high altitude glaciers in the Himalayas region. He was also part of the NASA Spaceward Bound India Expedition to high altitudes regions in Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir.
His work has been published in a book “90 Degrees South” and several of his photographs have been a part of international photo exhibitions.
Nikita Sarah, Head Advocacy & Communication, The Leprosy Mission Trust India.
A seasoned development professional and a stellar communicator, Nikita Sarah is the Head of Advocacy & Communication at The Leprosy Mission—an international NGO working on restoring health and dignity of people affected by leprosy and other disabilities.
As a leader who believes in leading by example, Nikita mentors and empowers others to take initiative in creating sustainable communities and enabling environment for the most vulnerable communities, with a wider lens on women as she believes that women are the real influencers and changemakers.
Among her most significant contributions has been the successful repeal/amendment of 20 laws that discriminated against the most vulnerable group in India. She is credited with conceptualising an innovative national public health campaign, Sapna Hai Kusht Mukt Bharat Ka, which has been adopted by the government and rolled out across India.
She has various publications, such as policy reports, and research papers, especially on discrimination and behaviour change. She has also supported Monitoring and Evaluation of some internationally funded projects. She has also produced a number of films for the organisation. They range from corporate films, animation, documentaries and stories of discrimination and impact.
While her friends call her a ‘Badass Mom’, she credits her three sons for title. When they are not driving her up the wall, they take responsibility for her high stress levels, constant rush of adrenalin, receding hairline! Awesome as they are, they also are the very reason for her existence, her fuel, therapists, counsellors, greatest cheerleaders ever and ensuring that each day is worth living!
Nikita is also a mentor for women facing domestic abuse, part of single parents’ squad, and member of a fantastic network and support group of parents with children with autism
She is comfortable leading in complexity, gets fuelled by a challenge and a passionate believer in the power of social change.
Currently working as Joint Secretary (Advisor) at National Disaster Management Authority, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India, Mr Kunal Satyarthi is a member of the premier Indian Forest Service of 1997 batch of Himachal Pradesh Cadre. He has more than twenty-five years of experience in imparting training on forest laws & environmental policy and also participatory natural resource management at National level institutions and Academies.
Practical field experience in dealing with natural resource management has been obtained while working as Divisional Forest Officer at Kinnaur, Kullu and Mandi and as Deputy Director of Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP), Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. The field postings have been in a high biotic and development pressure scenario in the Himalayas. Field Experience is also in dealing with Human Wildlife Conflict; implementing sustainable livelihood projects, tackling protection & regulation issues.
Research experience involves postings as Head of Silviculture Division at Forest Research Institute at Dehradun and Assist. Director General (Media & Extension) at ICFRE, Dehradun. He has also worked in Biodiversity Board, Climate Change Centre, Space Application Centre, State Wetland Development Authority; Patent Centre and in Science Popularization in Himachal Pradesh.
Academically, he is a Masters and M.Phil in Botany from the University of Delhi and a Master in Public Policy from Australia National University, Canberra apart from degrees and courses on various aspects of Environment & Forestry.
His hobbies include cycling, photography, trekking, bird watching & travelling.
Malaika Vaz is a National Geographic Explorer, TV Presenter and Green Oscar-nominated wildlife filmmaker. She hosts, directs and produces documentaries on the environment and wildlife conservation. Her past work has aired on television networks like Nat Geo Wild, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Al Jazeera. She is passionate about creating policy impact in the field of wildlife conservation, and collaborates with conservation organisations like WildAid and the Wildlife Trust of India on anti-trafficking investigations and campaigns.
Nitye Sood is a Green-Oscar nominated filmmaker and wildlife cameraman. Nitye has worked on a wide range of global broadcast productions for National Geographic, Animal Planet, Netflix and Al Jazeera. Nitye also filmed and co-produced Peng Yu Sai - an investigative documentary on the illegal Manta Ray trade across Asia.VATAVARAN Special: Meet the filmmakers Nitye Sood and Malaika Vaz
Padm Bhushan Dr. Anil Prakash Joshi is an environmentalist, green activist, and the founder of Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO), a Dehradun-based voluntary organization.
His work majorly includes developing sustainable technologies that are ecology inclusive economy for ecosystem development. He has coined G.E.P (Gross Environmental Product), an ecological growth measure parallel to G.D.P. G.E.P has been accepted as a growth measure by the state of Uttarakhand on 5th June 2021.
He was selected as the man of the year by Week Magazine in 2003. He is a recipient of the Jamnalal Bajaj Award and is an Ashoka Fellow. The Government of India awarded him the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2006, for his contributions to Indian society. He was also awarded Padma Bhushan, third highest civilian award in 2020 for environmental conservation in Uttarakhand.
Mr P. V. S. Suryakumar, Deputy Managing Director, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mumbai joined NABARD in 1986 and has handled a variety of functions; appraisal, funding & monitoring of projects, headed & implemented various types of programs, training, policy, advocacy & communications. He worked across the geographies; Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, New Delhi and Karnataka.
Academically, he obtained a Masters in Plant Genetics from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi in 1986. He is a Commonwealth Scholar and obtained Masters in Sustainable Development from the Staffordshire University, Stroke-on-Trent, UK in 2010. He undertook the 25th Management Education Program at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad in 2001.
He is an Associate of the Indian Institute of Banking & Finance.
He is an author of cases, contributed to newspapers on policy issues and published two books on Cases and Sustainable Agriculture.
Shabnam Jafri is a documentary / corporate film director and proprietor of Dewz Vision.Under the banner of Dewz Vision, Shabnam and Sohail Jafri have made a number of films on wildlife / environment. Some of these films are as Shoot that Leopard (Films Division), Indian Ornithology - passage through time (for SACON), 12 film series for "Lakshya- Ek Living Planet", a prime-time program on Doordarshan, Rampan fishing- more than a living - for Forest department, Curse of a watery graveyard - (on the challenges faced by fishing community of Mumbai), I Dream of my Clean Creek - a film on Thane creek.
Ridhima Pandey is an Indian environmental activist from India who advocates for action against climate change. She was one of the complainants to the United Nations, along with several other young climate activists, against several nations' failure to take action against the climate crisis.
She was on the list of the BBC's 100 Women announced on 23 November 2020. She also received a Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice on 16 December 2021 in New Delhi.
KRISHNENDU BOSE, after acquiring a Masters degree in Economics from Delhi School of Economics in 1985, he set up Earthcare Films, making films on wildlife conservation and environmental justice. Since then, he has produced several international award winning documentaries. His film on women and climate change, won the best director award at the Casselle film festival, Italy in 2014. He is the recipient of the CMS-UNEP Prithvi Ratna Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. His film ‘The Tiger Who Crossed the Line’, premiered on Discovery Channel in 2017 and received the National Award for the best environment film in 2017.
He is the founding member of ECO (Earthcare Outreach Trust). ECO works with children and adolescents across the South Asia, empowering them with the tools of filmmaking
Ms. Vanita Khanna is a creative and performance-driven Filmmaker. Her directorial debut in “Water Be Dammed”, reflects her deep passion for films and knowledge of all stages of the filmmaking process. She is a committed environmentalist who believes in the healing power of nature. With more than 5 years of movie making experience, Ms. Khanna is ready to share more amazing stories with the world!
Co-Director, Producer and Script Writer- Dr. Romila Verma
An innovative teacher, researcher, speaker, and documentary film maker, Dr. Verma lectures on water and environmental issues in the School of the Environment and Department of Geography at the University of Toronto. Her documentary- Water Be Dammed… narrates a compelling journey of river Satluj in Punjab, India, by tracing the story of challenges, hopes and aspirations of water’s will to survive and rejuvenate.
Assistant Director and Producer- Ms. Prabjot Kainth
Ms. Prab Kainth is a documentary filmmaker, researcher, environmental and human rights activist. She is a founder of the Planet One Foundation, with a mission to build environmentally resilient communities across the globe. She has been running health camps in India to combat the impacts of contaminated water on human health. She has a vision to “Educate for Change” and has been working in the community as an activist. Her documentaries on the cancer crisis in India has received numerous international awards.
Licypriya is a Ten-Years-Old Indian Environmentalist & Climate Activist and Founder of The Child Movement. She has been championing her cause since six-years-old to protect, preserve and nurture our environment by fighting climate change. She is one of the youngest climate activists globally and addressed the world leaders in the United Nations Climate Conference 2019 (COP25) in Madrid, Spain calling the world leaders to take immediate climate actions to save their future. She is an outspoken young leader inspiring millions of people around the World and one of the leading voices for climate change in the World despite her young age.
She is a World Children Peace Prize Laureate 2019, Rising Star of Earth Day Network 2019, Global Child Prodigy Award Winner 2020, CNN News 18 Water Hero 2020, Winner of the prestigious TN Khushoo Memorial Award 2020, Forber 30 Under 30 Special Mentions 2021 and Recipient of International Women’s Day Award 2021 from Delhi Government. She spoke in over 400 institutions and other platforms in over 32 countries advocating adults about the threat of climate change as a part of her movement. She is currently working as Advisor of Child Rights International Network (CRIN) based in London, UK. When she started her movement in 2018, she was alone but today she has thousands of love and support from across the globe.
Dr. Sweta Kumar Dash after completing M.A, M.Phil and Ph.d from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, pursued his career in Odisha Administrative Service. He has special inclination for making films in his own banner “social image production” based on social issues like women empowerment, farmer suicide, caste system, indentured labour, disaster management and the existing social blind belief. Dr. Sweta Kumar Dash directed short film MASK has won several national and international awards.
The short film “Shanni” is based on river Mahanadi and livelihood of fisherman in Odisha. River Mahanadi treated as mother of Odisha this river is closely associated with the livelihood of people. This short film depicts how the fishe
Nandan Saxena & Kavita Bahl are multiple award-winning filmmakers. They have received the National Film Award thrice for their films.
Over two decades into filmmaking, their films are poignant portraits of people living at the margins in contemporary India, often blurring the thin line between documentary and cinema. They are also TEDx speakers.
All their three films on the farmers and aboriginal communities in India have been honoured with the prestigious National Film. As media-trainers, they have offered more than 50 skill-sharing workshops in India, Australia, Singapore and London to help train and retool filmmakers under the banner - Quark Workshops. Nandan has worked as a DoP, Cinematographer, Editor and a Director for Feature-Documentaries and Reality-based programming for Broadcasters like Al Jazeera,BBC World Service, Doordarshan, Zee besides organisations like the Films Division of India, and the United Nations Development Programme.
Their film 'Lakshman-Rekha (The lines that Lakshman drew)' is being nominated in the 11th Competitive edition of CMS VATAVARAN – Asia’s largest Film festival and Forum exclusively on Environment and Wildlife !!
Christoph Pohl grew up in Germany. He studied media technology engineering and worked in video and film postproduction in Hamburgand Berlin before moving to the experimental international township ofAuroville, South India, in 2008.
He established brainfever media productions in 2011, and worked as Technical Director for the Auroville Film Festival 2011 – 2017. He is passionate about conserving Auroville’s forests and for the past two yearhe is a co-steward of one of Auroville’s forests.
He has made various non-fiction short films. Ever Slow Green is his first feature-length documentary film.
His film EVER SLOW GREEN - Re-afforestation in Auroville, South India is being nominated in the 11th Competitive edition of CMS VATAVARAN – Asia’s largest Film festival and Forum exclusively on Environment and Wildlife !!
Biju Toppo is an anthropological and national award-winning tribal documentary filmmaker from Ranchi, Jharkhand. He uses film as a medium for social activism on behalf of marginalized indigenous communities, and teaches video production at St. Xaviers College, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India. He belongs to the ethnic group Kurukh of India.
His film Jharia (The Spring) is being nominated in the 11th Competitive edition of CMS VATAVARAN – Asia’s largest Film festival and Forum exclusively on Environment and Wildlife, to be held in hybrid mode from April 11 to 23, 2022.