Shalini Kantayya is a filmmaker whose movie “Coded Bias” premiered on the 2020 Sundance Movie Competition and is now streaming on Netflix. The movie received a Social Influence Media Award for Finest Director and has been nominated for a Critics’ Alternative, a Cinema Eye Honors, and NAACP Picture Award. Kantayya’s debut function, “Catching the Solar,” premiered on the LA Movie Competition, was named a NY Occasions Critics’ Decide, and was nominated for the Environmental Media Affiliation Award for Finest Documentary. She directed the season finale of the Nationwide Geographic tv sequence “Breakthrough,” and has directed for NOVA and YouTube Originals.
“TikTok, Growth.” is screening on the 2022 Sundance Movie Competition, which is working on-line from January 20-30. Extra info will be discovered on the fest’s web site.
W&H: Describe the movie for us in your individual phrases.
SK: “TikTok, Growth.” follows Gen Z influencers to discover how a social media app greatest recognized for youngsters dancing turns into the middle of geopolitical battle. As TikTok takes to the throne of the world’s most downloaded app of all time, we inform the non-public tales from inside this cultural phenomenon — the worldwide celebrity that beatboxed his solution to the Hollywood A-list, the black creators shadowbanned within the wake of George Floyd’s dying, the whistleblower of content material moderation, and a lady whose submit virtually upended a presidency.
Touted by some as “The Sunny Nook of the Web” however by others as a menace to democracy itself, “TikTok Growth.” weaves a fancy world narrative. Is Tiktok a authentic Nationwide Safety threat or a sufferer of Silicon Valley bullies, resorting to anti-Asian Xenophobia as a result of a Chinese language firm beat them to the submit? The story of Tiktok is a narrative about the way forward for society, of right this moment’s zeitgeist, of an algorithm like no different, and the way a 60-second video out of your bed room would possibly simply have the facility to vary the world.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
SK: I’m obsessive about expertise and the best way it impacts our humanity. There may be now a complete era of human beings which have grown up on-line — and whereas there’s nonetheless a lot unknown concerning the repercussions of this daunting new house, I felt it necessary to let “TikTok Growth.” be an ode to that new frontier, a portrait of Technology Z, informed by them and for them, within the pivotal moments between our understanding of it and their future.
“TikTok Growth.” shines a lightweight on the challenges and triumphs of the primary era of people coming of age on-line, and the way they navigate voice and energy on a worldwide platform.
W&H: What would you like individuals to consider after they watch the movie
SK: I hope individuals will ask questions concerning the energy of social media apps like TikTok in our lives, and the best way during which these applied sciences are shaping the future.
I additionally love the Gen Z influencers, journalists, and technologists that the movie options, and I hope their tales will encourage audiences as a lot as they impressed me.
W&H: What was the most important problem in making the movie?
SK: It is a sprawling geopolitical story with many delicate points and lots of stakeholders—it’s difficult to inform a worldwide story that’s nuanced and has layers.
W&H: Share some insights into how you bought the movie made.
SK: The movie was made in 5 international locations and ten cities throughout a world pandemic. I really feel grateful to a proficient workforce of pros who helped made the magic occur whereas prioritizing security.
W&H: What impressed you to grow to be a filmmaker?
SK: The movie critic Roger Ebert stated that motion pictures are “empathy machines.” We sit in the dead of night and are informed tales and have an expertise of empathizing for somebody radically totally different than us. To me, that expertise of empathy is the seed of how the world adjustments. And that’s why I make movies.
W&H: What’s the perfect recommendation you’ve acquired?
SK: Finest recommendation (from Hans Solo): By no means inform me the chances.
W&H: What recommendation do you’ve for different ladies administrators?
SK: There’s by no means been extra instruments to inform your story.
W&H: Identify your favourite woman-directed movie and why.
SK: I like Dee Rees’ “Pariah” and Julie Taymor’s “Frida.” They’re each tales about robust non-conforming artists who transcend the chances to remain true to their very own voice.
W&H: How are you adjusting to life in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you maintaining inventive, and if that’s the case, how?
SK: It’s been difficult to discover ways to make a movie throughout a worldwide pandemic. “TikTok, Growth.” was filmed in 5 international locations and 10 cities. As an artist, security has grow to be a continuing precedence in each inventive pursuit.
W&H: The movie business has a protracted historical past of underrepresenting individuals of shade onscreen and behind the scenes and reinforcing — and creating — adverse stereotypes. What actions do you suppose have to be taken to make it extra inclusive?
SK: We want inclusion on the highest stage of decision-making in the business.