Introduction (2-3 lines)
Meena Nanji has produced, written and directed award-winning independent documentaries and experimental videos. Her work has screened at film/video festivals internationally as well as broadcast on PBS stations throughout the US, and on European television. Her first feature documentary, View From A Grain of Sand about 30 years of women’s rights in Afghanistan, won awards at film festivals and was broadcast internationally.
Meena has received several prestigious grants including the Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellowship, National Endowment of the Arts, Center for Asian American Media, Paul Robeson Fund, Pacific Pioneer Fund and Women in Film Foundation. She was a juror for granting organizations and curated film/video festivals, including the L.A Festival and Outfest. She was a board-member of L.A Freewaves in Los Angeles, was a founding member of ArtWallah, LA’s South Asian Arts Festival and a founding member of GlobalGirl Media, a media-training non-profit for girls in underserved communities. She has taught at University of California, Santa Barbara and Otis Parsons School of Art, Los Angeles, and has been invited to guest lecture at universities around the world.
Other award-winning titles include Voices of the Morning, about a woman growing up under orthodox Islamic law; It Is A Crime, which explores representation of South Asians in mainstream US and British films. Her recent short film Here and Away (10min, 2012) won Best Experimental Short at the Oaxaca FilmFest and Stellar Narrative Prize at the Black Maria Film/Video Festival. Meena has also produced multi-channel videos for art exhibitions, and in 2010 was commissioned by Cineteve, France to make a 2-minute film, 1000 Years, about the environment, which aired on the Orange Cinema Series on ARTE France.
Meena has been a recipient of several prestigious funding grants, including a two-time recipient from the Rockefeller Foundation/ Renew Media's Media Arts Fellowship, two-time recipient from the National Endowment of the Arts, as well as grants from the Peter Reed Foundation, Center for Asian American Media, the Paul Robeson Fund, Pacific Pioneer Fund, Women in Film Foundation and Durfee Foundation. In 2010, she was the first recipient of the Santa Monica Artist Fellowship Award. She was a Film Independent/Project Involve Fellow 2012-13.
Meena has also served as a juror for grant-giving organizations and film festival awards including the Rockefeller Foundation, The Center for Asian American Media and the Durfee Foundation. Meena has curated and programmed film and video festivals, including the L.A Festival and Outfest, and has been on the board of L.A Freewaves. She was a founding member of ArtWallah, L.A’s South Asian Arts Festival and most recently, in 2008, a co-founder of GlobalGirl Media (GGM), (www.GlobalGirlMedia.org) a non-profit media training organization for teenage girls in underrepresented communities of the world. Currently GGM has programs in South Africa, Morocco, Los Angeles and Chicago. She has also taught at University of California, Santa Barbara and Otis Parsons School of Art and Design, Los Angeles. She has been invited to guest lecture at universities and conferences around the world.
Meena is currently working on a feature narrative film, The Cosmic Forest, about a tribal artist from the central Indian forests, to be produced by Louverture Films. Her keen interest in exploring race and cultural diasporas, and gender rights, inspire her to continue to make films around issues of social justice and human rights.