Sonalee Hardikar : Founder /Artistic Director.
Sonalee has more than a couple decades of experience as an art professional . Her passion for the arts garnered her a position as a National scholar in the highly coveted, one of its kind national conservatory for theater in India, the National School of Drama. She has an additional masters in video production and a fellowship from the University of Maryland in Scenic Design.
She has conducted theater, art history and aesthetics workshops for post graduates in premier national institutes of India and directed and designed, (costumes and sets) for several plays in her native land as well and in the Bay area.
Her photographs and paintings have been exhibited , and have sold in solo shows as well as part of group exhibits in India, the East coast as well as the Bay area.
Additionally ,she has been fortunate enough to be given fellowships that enabled her to learn woodcarving from Tibetan mastercarvers , puppets and mask making from the best master puppeteers in India, painting and drawing from international award winning artists and design from the best that both india and the United states have to offer.
She learnt breathwork and pranayam as prerequistes for an actor but also continued to hone breathwork as a practise for life from meditators and gurus in India and the United states. She is an avid traveller and speaks 4 Indian languages, understands seven and her writings and translations have been published in three.She is a firm believer in giving back to the community and her career reflects a consciously chosen balance between teaching at ace institutes in metropolitan cities and pro bono work in the villages of India ,and inner city /rural /suburban outreach programmes in the United States.
As a teacher she trained hundreds of students, who are now celebrated artists or teachers in their own right.
Amruta Hardikar: Instructor Creative Writing
Amruta is a law graduate with a specialization in human rights but writing is her first passion. In following that passion she has written plays, documentaries, animation films,and feature film screenplays. She trained in the craft of Screenplay and Dialogue writing at the Film and Television Institute of India. For two years she worked as researcher, writer and assistant to National Award winning director Umesh Kulkarni and Sachin Kundalkar for documentaries made for Central Institute of Indian languages. Her film story ' Akrandan ' was selected in India's first screenplay lab Bioscope in 2008 and she was mentored by Anurag Kashyap, Shriram Raghawan and Anjum Rajaballi. Since moving to the US in 2009 , her Marathi language plays have been performed in the Bay Area as well as L.A, Chicago, New Jersey, Albany(NY), and Rhode Island. In 2013 her film story 'Flight of the Doe ' was shortlisted for the NFDC film Lab . She worked as script supervisor on the film, 'For Here or to Go ' (2015). She is currently working on a series of Animation films for project Mmitra for the non profit Armman in India.
Cyril Sebastian:Instructor ,Film Making
Cyril has worked in television for over a decade as a writer and director in India and the Middle East.
Specializing in short format commercials and promotions, he has worked for top
broadcasters including Star India, Walt Disney, Discovery Networks and Ten
A post graduate in Mass Communication from the University of Pune, he juggles
his theoretical and historical knowledge of film and television with the
practicality and commercial aspects of production. Currently, he consults with
production houses and TV stations in India and is an active judge on industry
awards like Promax and Excellence in Radio Awards (ERA).
Meenal Chaudhary :Instructior Theater and presence
Meenal has acted in several plays and student lms at FTII in India. She has conducted theater workshops as a tool for self-awareness. She formed a dance theater group and directed children’s plays. She also has a double Masters’ degree in psychology and has worked andcontinues to work as a psychotherapist. Moreover, she has delved into several meditation techniques and yoga,transpersonal psychology and somatic work. She uses writing, painting, acting and dance for creative expression. Her websites include www.digmeart.com
May Jacob Koshy
May's interest in arts and media stems from her training as a Bharathanatyam dancer, and her academic rigor in the field of media and communications. May's education which includes a PhD from London School of Economics, was a study of the relevance of media consumption and piety on feminisms of British Pakistani muslim women in northern England and it's various articulations in the everyday life. Upon relocating to upstate New York, May briefly worked with the Waldorf school, as a part of their early childhood education.
Presently,May works in the field of K-12 education in the area of data and research, and is invested in working towards an equitable and just future for all communities. She enjoys exploring various facets of feminism in South Indian mythology, oral histories and arts, and its impact on women today.
Rahul Nim Guitarist, composer and songwriter
Rahul obtained his early training in music at Navyug School in Delhi, where he learned hindustani classical music basics. shortly after he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. He taught himself to play the rhythm guitar and joined a band called Prithvi as one of the early members. Prithvi gave Rahul the opportunity to learn keyboards and soloing on vocals and guitars. In its peak, Prithvi was a very popular Hindi band of the Bay Area. During 2006-7 Prithvi released an album of original material, called 'Down To Earth'. Rahul wrote and composed most of the songs. After producing the album, the band decided to take a break. He feels honoured for the opportunity play with Booom, Jigary and VDaze. Rahul's musical interests vary from Hindustani to Jazz, but his first love is Classic Rock and Blues. He loves to study the works of the great guitarists of our time, and hopes to be inspired by them. Rahul is also an avid sound and recording enthusiast.
Allison Anne Arnold
Allison's education includes a multi-faceted exploration into subjects like soil-sciences and planning, with a masters each from UMD and Cornell. She has lived in Senegal during her Peace Corps years and is conversant in Pular, and French. She has obtained teaching certification in Yoga and breathwork, and has recently moved to the Bay Area.
She is also a meticulous carpenter and has worked on several projects, building straw bale houses with Habitat For Humanity and Red Feather.
She is a Ukelele Nazi and can teach you how to tune, strum and play it, within the hour if you ask her nicely.