As an actor, Ajay trained with the American Repertory Theater's Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University.
His first professional acting job was the film Touch and Go (released in 1986) which he won from an open call, this in turn led to television jobs.He starred in the tv-movie, Lady Blue (1985) as Paquito". This was followed by an ABC Afterschool Special episode, "No Greater Gift" (1985), where he played "Nick Santana", a 12-year old boy with a terminal illness. He then appeared in an uncredited role as "Ahmed" in the "MacGyver" tv series, during the first season, in episode, "To Be a Man" in 1986.
Other film credits when younger include Where the River Runs Black (1986) and Vice Versa (1988). Between 1988 and 1995 he worked extensively in classical theatre.
He returned to film acting in SubUrbia (1996), for which he was nominated for an independent spirit award for best supporting actor.
On screen, Naidu has appeared in the film Office Space, as well as K-Pax, π, Requiem for a Dream, Bad Santa, The War Within, , The Guru, Waterborne and Loins of Punjab Presents and many many more. He co-starred in the sitcom LateLine and had guest starring roles on the television dramas The Sopranos, in the episode entitled Big Girls Don't Cry, as well as The West Wing. Naidu has been working extensively with musicians from the Asian underground music movement for many years and his vocals have appeared on many records most notably Talvin Singh's
mercury award winner "OK". In 2006 he directed his first feature film "Ashes" which is due out in 2010 His most recent Theatre credits include A world tour of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure with Simon McBurney's Theatre Complicite, The Resitable rise of Arturo Ui alongside Al Pacino, and The little Flower of East Orange at New York's Public Theater. He is currently engaged to actress Heather Burns.
Maulik Pancholy told his parents that he wanted to be an actor at the age of five, and went on to study his craft at Northwestern University and the Yale School Of Drama. He now plays Jonathan on the Emmy Award winning NBC series 30 Rock and Sanjay on the Showtime hit Weeds. In addition to several other television credits (Law & Order, The Sopranos, The Comeback), he has worked extensively in films (27 Dresses, Hitch, Friends with Money, and others), theatre (Off-Broadway and around the country), and voice-overs (The Disney Channel cartoon Phineas and Ferb).
He won a Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Ensemble for 30 Rock and was also nominated with the cast of Weeds. He has been involved with organizations such as South Asians for Obama, South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow, and The American India Foundation; and has spoken at various universities.
Samrat Chakrabarti holds a MFA in Acting from the ART/MXAT Program at Harvard University. His film credits include: Claire McCarthy's "The Waiting City" (w/ Radha Mitchell), Bruce Leddy's "The Wedding Weekend" (w/ Molly Shannon), Manish Acharya's "Loins of Punjab of Presents" (w/ Shabana Azmi), Spike Lee's "She Hate Me", Leonardo Ricagni's "Indocumentados", Joseph Castelo's "The War Within" (nominated for INDIE SPIRIT AWARD), Anjaan Dutt's "The Bong Connection"(w/ Victor Banerjee), Ajay Naidu's "Ashes", Sarba Das's "Karma Calling", Amyn Kaderali's "Kissing Cousins", Shailja Gupta's "It's All been Arranged", Joseph Matthews's "Bombay Summer"(w/ Tanishtha Chatterjee), Arindam Nandy's "Eclipse" and Suman Ghosh's "Dwando" (w/ Soumitro Chatterjee"). He has had several guest stars and recurring roles on television, such as: Law And Order(NBC), The Sopranos(HBO), Love Monkey (CBS), Damages (FX), All My Children (ABC) and Hope and Faith(ABC). He is currently preparing to play one of the leads in Italio Spinelli's "Behind the Bodice" (w/ Irfan Khan).
Samrat is also an established international musician and has won numerous awards for his music, including: a U.S. CARA for Best Original Pop/Rock Song, for his composition, "What's It all About".
Ayres D’Cunha’s creative and technical expertise spans over 20 years in multiple areas of production and post. He’s the president & founder of Analog Digital International Inc., a post production facility and a major distributor of PAL/NTSC video equipment serving clients throughout the US and Internationally.
Ayres studied Radio and Television Engineering at St. Xavier’s Institute of Technology in Bombay, India. Following his education, he moved into management in the International Division of JVC’s Professional and Broadcast division. His passion for cutting edge technology eventually led him to New York where he managed regional sales for a leading video company. Ayres has worked from Technical Supervisor to Production Manager for: feature productions, shorts, commercials, corporate video, documentaries and on film festivals.
DJ Rekha is a producer, curator, educator and founder of Basement BhangraT. She was named "Ambassador of Bhangra" by the New York Times as well as "one of the most influential South Asians in the United States" by Newsweek. Rekha's other musical work includes sound design for the TONY winning Broadway Show, Bridge and Tunnel and off-Broadway show Rafta Rafta, and Associate Producer for the NPR Radio Documentary, A Feet in Two Worlds. Her album, DJ Rekha Presents Basement Bhangra is on Koch Records.
In early 2009, Rekha embarked on a three-week tour of India as a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. Consulate. She will be teaching a class on Bhangra & Bollywood for the Clive Davis School of Recorded Music at New York University. Rekha has given lectures and led workshops on Hip Hop, politics and South Asian art for various universities and institutions. Rekha has curated shows for Summerstage, Celebrate Brooklyn, and Desi Diaspora, a film series at the 92Y Tribeca.
Reyad Farraj has served as Executive Producer on several independent feature films, including PLANET BROOKLYN. Written and directed by Mad Matthewz, one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 Filmmakers to Look For (2007)”, PLANET BROOKLYN was an Official Selection of the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival, the IFP/Los Angeles Film Festival, and is distributed by Universal Pictures Home Video. Mr. Farraj was also Associate Producer on JELLYSMOKE, winner of the Target Filmmaker Award at the 2005 LA Film Festival and nominated for the John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award.Mr. Farraj recently produced SONNET 29 and signed on as Executive Producer for BEST AMERICAN, written and directed by Mary Harron (I SHOT ANDY WARHOL, AMERICAN PSYCHO, and THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE). BEST AMERICAN is currently in development and will debut on the IFC Channel. Mr. Farraj is a member of the New York State Bar and the Federal Circuit.
This is Amelia's second year on the Grand Jury for the South Asian International Film Festival. With over a decade of international documentary experience, she is a strong advocate for using the medium of documentary to educate, entertain and inspire change. Having started in the industry at a media NGO in Sri Lanka , Amelia has since then had the opportunity to travel shoot and produce in Indonesia, India , Sri Lanka, Hong Kong , China, Singapore and Australia .
After being based in Singapore for 6 years working in Film, she moved to New York and has now been a Staff Producer and the Director of Development for 5 years at Pangolin Pictures. Pangolin is an award winning documentary company whose clients include National Geographic, Discovery Channel ,WE: Women's Entertainment, HGTV, SPEED , The History Channel and PBS Nature to name a few.
Grady Hendrix is a film programmer and writer living in New York City. For the past five years he has been a regular film critic for the New York Sun (before it died) and has written for Slate, The Village Voice, Time Out New York, Playboy Magazine and Variety as well as starting Kaiju Shakedown, Variety’s popular Asian entertainment blog, now deceased. He is also the scriptwriter for the Asian Film Awards, a Hong Kong-based awards for all the Asian film industries. He is a frequent guest commentator on the BBC and National Public Radio, and one of the directors, programmers and co-founders of the New York Asian Film Festival, an eight-year-old film festival in New York City, which the New York Times has called “...one of the city’s most valuable events.”
Anadil Hossain is a New York-based film producer and founder of Dillywood, Inc., a full-service motion picture production company which develops and produces international and American film projects, specializing in complex multi-continental logistics.
Most recently, Dillywood was the international unit on FAIR GAME, starring Sean Penn, as well as Bart Freundlich’s upcoming romantic comedy “The Rebound” starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Justin Bartha, heading a multi-continental shoot in Hong Kong, India, Kenya, France, and Turkey. Anadil was co-producer on "The Darjeeling Limited", directed by Wes Anderson, which was shot on location in India. Anadil line produced the India segment of Mira Nair's "The Namesake", shot in New York and Kolkatta. She also produced Mira Nair’s short “How Can It Be?”, part of an eight film omnibus shot around the world which highlights the UN Millennium Development Goals. She was a consultant on Mira Nair’s “AIDS Jaago”, a Bill Gates Foundation-financed series of films highlighting AIDS awareness in India.
Shibani Joshi joined FOX Business Network (FBN) in September 2007 covering strategy, investment banking, and business development. Joshi began her career in investment banking at Morgan Stanley and thereafter served as Senior Manager in Strategy and Business Development at Disney/ABC Media Networks from 2004 to 2006 where she worked on the launch of ABC News Now, helping develop the firm’s global digital media strategy. Joshi left the corporate world to pursue journalism as a producer in New York at Reuters Television and TIMES NOW, the joint venture news channel with The Times of India, where she was responsible for producing news packages and interviews broadcast all over India. She has served as the host of ImaginAsian TV’s The Pulse South Asian variety show and contributed to ABCNews.com and ABC News Now covering technology and business stories.
Joshi holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma.
British by birth, Indian by heritage, and New Yorker in attitude, Film Composer Simon Taufique’s music explores cultural borders and intimate spaces, the computerized and the handmade, the personal and the global. Upcoming projects include a revised score for FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN, (starring Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Hayden Panettiere and Emily Watson) as well as composing for JESUS HENRY CHRIST, a Red Om Films production. Currently, Simon is scoring SONNET 29 for Mary Harron (AMERICAN PSYCHO) & John Walsh (PIPE DREAM).
Despite being a fan of cinema, Simon never imagined a film career. His first NYU recordings and collaborations with M. Night Shyamalan debuted in the indie cult film, TEMPS. This unexpected start led to a string of scores for award-winning films, including the period piece, HABER, a National Board of Review winner, official selection at the prestigious Telluride Festival and short–listed for the 2008 Oscar (short narrative).
As founder/CEO of Tiwary Entertainment Group (www.tegltd.com) Tiwary is involved in production, financing, and consultation for film, theater, music, and television. He is the writer/director of “The Fifth Beatle,” a feature film based on the life of Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. He is a producer of the Broadway-bound musical “The Addams Family” starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth; Green Day’s “American Idiot”, a theatrical adaptation of their internationally multi-platinum album; and “Down & Dirty Pictures,” a film adaptation of Peter Biskind's bestselling Hollywood expose. Vivek was lead producer of the Tony Award-winning “A Raisin In The Sun” starring Sean Combs, and a Limited Partner in Mel Brooks’ Broadway musicals "The Producers" and “Young Frankenstein.”
Vivek is also CEO of music company StarPolish (www,starpolish.com) whose divisions include a College Booking Agency, Marketing, and Online Education/Empowerment. He is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Wharton School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania.
Ian Wile is a founding partner at Rogue Post NYC, named by MovieMaker magazine to be one of the top 50 Independent Film Friendly companies in the country. His projects represent the full spectrum of the production world- multimillion dollar feature films, documentaries, reality programming, interactive/online content and commercial projects. In a rapidly changing production landscape, Ian helps guide film-makers through the potential technological minefields.
In recent years he has expanded from strictly post-production to develop and produce original projects. He has recently co-produced several films, including "Sordid Things" which is currently touring the festival circuit and "The Last International Playboy" which had a multi -city theatrical and dvd release this year and through an innovative distribution model.