Vinanti Castellarin

President, GCDF and Creator of VOW-TV's VOWW, Global Cultural Diversity Films (GCDF) Inc.
New York, NY, United States

About Vinanti


Since my college days, after graduating with a B.A. (Honors) in English Literature, History and Psychology, it was my ambition to become a global journalist. My first article was published in The Statesman with several non-fiction profiles in The Times of India, and then I worked for two years at the Ford Foundation, headquarters in New Delhi, where I saved enough money to buy a ticket to Brussels, secured a job and visited several European capitals before leaving for New York.
Working at the United Nations headquarters, I graduated with two M.A. degrees in mass media communciations and instructional technology from Columbia University by 1980, then found I was "overqualified" for media jobs in advertising, cable tv, and teaching. So I continued and completed 132 credits, and the doctoral qualifying exam, except for the final defense.
Officially, my first cultural diversified 16mm film, made-for-TV, was for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in Montreal, as a scriptwriter/director, (after taking leave-without-pay from the UN). Our team was awarded $100,000 budget for "SHAKTI: She is Vital Energy" on the proud, but poor life-styles of rural women of India - giving them "voices" at the UN International Womens Years (held every five years). It was a successful project where NFB sold the one hour program to global TV networks, and translated the English/ French versions into 55+ languages !
Throughout, I continued writing, photographing and published articles for The Statesman on American culture - music (classical, Rock n Roll and Jazz), modern dance (met Martha Graham, etc), ballet (Lincoln Center concert artistes), Broadway theatre (interviewed Tennessee Williams, Lee Strasberg, etc.,), best-selling writers, Hollywood celebrities and distinguished personality profiles.
After graduation, unable to qualify for a 9-5PM job, I became an independent filmmaker producing videos for Cable and Public Access TV series:"The American Family: (i) The Single Mother; (ii) The Single Father; (iii) Teenage Pregnancy; and (iv) Battered Women and weekly TV coverage on "Night Life in New York City," involving celebrity parties with Eliz Taylor, Malcolm Forbes, the Rockefellers, etc.
By 1983, I convinced the Office of the Prime Minister, of India, the late Indira Gandhi, and produce a half-hour 35mm film biography on her life, titled "FACING THE CHALLENGE" which was successfully distributed on Satellite Network TV (SNTV), and premiered at the United Nations, where I honored my mentor, the late Mrs. Mary (Laurence) Rockefeller. After the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi on 30 October 1984, the film was screened nationwide on NBC Channel 4.
Passionate about producing documentaries, I conceived, researched and developed a major TV series: "WOMEN WHO DARED... to become Presidents and Prime Ministers," as the world predicted "globalization". It was one of the most challenging film projects, which we scripted as personal intimate biographies, as a TV series, contacting the political leaders (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher (UK), Mrs. Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway), Mrs. Mary Robinson (Ireland), Mrs. Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan), etc., and received a letter from Meryl Streep, Liv Ullmann, and Walter Cronkite, as anchors and "host." Unfortunately, negotiations with corporate sponsorship funding from multinational companies, TV networks and advertising agencies were unacceptable, involving financial greed and unprincipled manipulation.
Again, I was told "you are ahead of your time", so I started work on a doctoral thesis titled: "Identifying propaganda techniques in Film & TV," where research showed high school kids were unable to read the questionaire. So I developed a unique methodology of teaching "literacy" through short dramatic films (16mm/VHS videos) for illiterate audiences where content focused on their life-skills, instead of "tried-and-true techniques of education." As a social scientist, I programmed videos stressing on the use of local (native) social and economical struggles and achievements, so that the less educated identified with their own problematic life-styles, thereby bringing "new learning" and the acceptance of "radicial changes," over which they had full control.
Six weeks after 9/11, I raised independent funds (from friends and Sikh American community) and completed "MISTAKEN IDENTITY: Sikhs in America" with 21-year old Host/Anchor Amanda Gesine Winklevoss. It was our first digital video, made-for-TV program, focusing on "celebrating cultural diversity in America," winner of three first prize awards in American Film Festivals.
To conclude, we are now editing docu-dramas on non-violence, peace, forgiveness and compassion titled: "JAIN ENLIGHTENMENT - A Cosmic Way of Life, " with a feature film scheduled in Brussels titled: "THE WHITE PEACOCK" interpreting "nirvana" through the eyes of a young European child.


English, French, Hindi

Areas of Expertise

Digital/HD Documentary Films , Digital Print/Photo Journatist , Films on Rural India - Empowering the Girl Child, Visual/Audio/Print Journalism

An idea worth spreading

At present, I am working towards finding a reliable media website to partner with and offer unique TV uploads, as I have hundreds of hours of film on subjects which can be edited and produced into some really good film programs for the global audiences. If it is not possible, I am negotiating with some IT media techs in Bangalore (Silcon Valley in India) to create a 24/7 WebTV network (including radio news and stories) on the Internet that spreads "global news" worldwide. Major funding can be brought in through global corporate sponsors via advertising agencies around the world. It is so important to be able to monitize on films on the Internet ... there has to be a way ... I do have tens of new WebTV networks ... but they are all immitating others ... with nothing exciting happening on the screen. A lot of my friends are working on Hollywood, Bollywood content ... but surely there is more excitement in discovering new ideas, new knowledge ... as the world goes round ...

I'm passionate about

After a five week trip to the poorest of poor villages in Haryana, India, I am now concentrating on scripting and producing a major Bollywood film "EMPOWERING THE GIRL-CHILD: CHILD MARRIAGES."

Talk to me about

How can we join hands, collaborate in joint-ventures to produce major Bollywood film with Solutions to "Empowering the Girl-Child - Against Child Marriages ?" Have contacts to leading movie stars !

People don't know I'm good at

Conceiving, writing and directing - already created a 4.5 min video clip on "Child-Marriages - Empowering the Girl Child" to spread the message and find sustainable solutions to this problem

My TED story

I am a new member of TED but plan to network and collaborate with like-minded members who are looking for ways to bring about "major changes in the world ... especially among the poorest of poor ...

Comments & conversations

Vinanti Castellarin
Posted about 3 years ago
Laura Carstensen: Older people are happier
This is very interesting for VOICES OF WOMEN WORLDWIDE & VOW-TV at promoting "voices for the voiceless" women, men, young girls and boys interested in gender equality and empowerment. VOWW finds solutions to their problems around the world ...
Vinanti Castellarin
Posted over 3 years ago
What makes a good conversation? What draws you in and engages you? Let's build TED-capacity by sharing what we're learning with each other.
Thanks Linda - for opening up :What makes a good conversation ... drawing you in and engaging you ? Well, I am a world traveled journalist-filmmaker who is professes to be a videographer ... using my camera as my pencil to interview ordinary people doing extraordinary tasks ... by having wonderful conversations with them ... So recently, I started VOICES OF WOMEN WORLDWIDE at and now I am conversing wth over 500+ members from all over the world ... The first secret of success is showing genuine concern for "the other" ... who need to be listened to ... to tell their stories ... frankly and without hesitation ... What drew the members to the website was VOICES OF WOMEN WORLDWIDE's mission was "promoting voices of the voiceless ... women, young girls and children, and even men ... who want to tell their stories ... to anyone who will listen ... That's why TED Conversations are so popular ... there are room full of people waiting to listen to heart rendering stories ...