V.T. Nayani (pron. 9'knee) is an an artist, producer and consultant, who has been working in the creative world for almost 15 years. Starting off as a dancer, Nayani trained in the classical dance form of Bharathanatyam. She then moved into theatre, as both a performer and writer, working both on and off stage. Eventually, her tenderness for storytelling and social justice led to her main focus as both a director and writer for the screen, as well as an artistic programmer and producer. She obtained her Bachelor of Journalism (Radio & Television) from Ryerson University, and her M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from York University, focused on cultural production, diaspora, and gender & feminist studies. Her first feature documentary Shadeism: Digging Deeper (2015) had its World Premiere at the 2015 Zanzibar International Film Festival, where it received a Special Jury Recognition. Nayani is an alumni of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Workshop for Diverse Creators, the HotDocs Festival's Doc Accelerator Program, and the 2017 ReelWorld Film Festival's Emerging 20 Program. She is a recipient of the 2017 UN Women Yvonne M. Hebert Award, after being nominated by the Association for Wome's Rights in Development. This award is given to filmmakers and other media makers, who actively work towards women's empowerment and gender equity through their chosen creative medium. As part of this honour, she was invited to attend the 61st Commission on the Status of Women at UN Headquarters in New York City, where she facilitated a workshop for youth attendees on "Film and Gender Equality", and co-produced a short film with UN Women and AWID, which was screened at the gathering alongside the films of her fellow honourees. In the spring of 2018, Nayani's first feature drama as a director and co-writer, This Place (2020), was selected as a recipient of Telefilm Canada's inaugural Talent to Watch Program. Later that year, she had the honour of shadowing and interning with acclaimed cinematographer Bradford Young, on the set of Netflix's limited series WHEN THEY SEE US. Nayani was most recently a recipient of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's 2019 MVP Project grant, presented by The Prism Prize and RBCxMusic. Her work and artistic development has also been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Laidlaw Foundation, ArtReach Toronto, and TIFF Next Wave. Nayani feels blessed to work at the intersection of arts and advocacy, creating and sharing work that seeks to say something, and engage audiences both aesthetically and consciously. Above all, she believes in love and magic.


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