7th Empire Media: “Lights, Camera, Activism”

The 20th century belonged to broadcast media as information flowed from curated source to millions of consumers. Although the internet has re-democratized culture, allowing consumers to seek out and create for niche interests, the limited attention an individual can devote per day results in high production-value content dominating mindshare.

This means that although an increasingly disparate bouquet of perspectives are finding shelter in cultural ports such as YouTube, without deft and passionate creation, critical voices would be lost in the growing Everest of amateur videos and trivial content. As written by public internet intellectual and NYU professor Clay Shirky in his 2008 book Here Comes Everybody, “as we get more weblogs, or more MySpace pages, or more YouTube videos, the gap between the material that gets the most attention and merely average attention will grow.” Dissenting opinions are important—dissenting opinions that are well presented even more so.

That’s where 7th Empire Media (incidentally a 2011 Echoing Green Semi-Finalist) steps in by taking a stand against the six mainstream media empires that “continue to consolidate power in the corporate interest, limiting public dialogue.” The production house is spearheaded by director Shalini Kantayya, who brings her own pedigree as a Fulbright scholar in documentary making to the table. Her latest effort is a science-fiction (always a great genre for amplifying the grey assumptions all societies are built on) short film called “A Drop of Life”. Set in the near future in a village in India, it details the mutual travails of two women from different parts of the world who find themselves unable to access drinking water via a credit-card operated water pump. Although the water pump was initially devised to illustrate a frightening future possibility, Kantayya found grim irony in the fact that her “sci-fi” devices are already in operation in ten countries around the world.

Organizations like 7th Empire Media are becoming increasingly critical in today’s world when the average developed world consumer has a growing amount of clout to shape lives in the developing world for better or for worse through consumerism and politics. Kantayya and 7th Empire Media are just getting started—this is definitely a career worth watching out for. 


Related Reading:

Echoing Green Finalist: Mobius Motors, Creating A Vehicle For Change

Echoing Green Finalist: Afghan Scholar’s Initiative

Drop the Chalk: Changing Classroom Focus [VIDEO]




Photo from A Drop of Life movie.


Salome Waters
Salome Waters7 years ago

What blows my mind is the "last" fact, gently tossed off, that there are these water pumps in 10, that's TEN countries in the world that charge (credit cards, yet?) for a drink of water.

Or are the the countries that have sold their water to Corporations?

Tanyaisa P.
Tanyaisa P7 years ago


K s Goh
KS Goh7 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Zee Kallah
.7 years ago

thank you

Julianna D.
Juliana D7 years ago


Valerie G.
Val G7 years ago

Thank you Abeer.
Read your article.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson7 years ago


Prochi T.
Prochi T7 years ago

Thank you.

Parvez Z.
Parvez Zuberi7 years ago

Thanks for sharing good article

Abbe A.
Azaima A7 years ago

A much needed addition. More power to them.