Ritu Pande is a filmmaker based in New York City. She hails from Bihar, India, where her rebellious nature put the sexist cultural norms of her environment into stark focus. Her unconventional experiences as a social activist, military cadet, as well as a finalist in Miss India contest, enabled her to explore various facets of feminism, female and human identity. She left her burgeoning acting career in Mumbai to pursue acting and filmmaking in New York, studying under veterans such as Austin Pendelton, Anthony Abeson, and Terry Schreiber. Ironically, rather than finding freedom in New York to explore her passions, Ritu found herself more pigeonholed as a minority woman.
Energized by this challenge, and struck by the extent of dilution that plagues foreign perspectives, Ritu founded Durga Entertainment in 2009 through which she has acted and produced films that transcend the industry stereotypes in favor of more complex and universal stories, especially about women. As an actor, producer and writer, it is her personal sense of identity, shrouded in the paradox of race and gender identity crisis that the Western cultures pose particularly upon women of color is what inspires Ritu’s filmmaking drive: to reveal the truth behind the complex humanity and to upend cultural norms with which many are ensconced in.
Kishori Rajan is a New York-based producer and head of development at Durga Entertainment. She has been on the producing and production teams of several narrative features, including the Spirit Award nominated FOUR and Gimme The Loot (IFC/Sundance Selects), and the upcoming Man With Van. She Associate Produced May In The Summer (Sundance 2013) with Durga Entertainment, and worked on the feature documentary Welcome To Shelbyville (ITVS). Kishori has also been the senior producer on web and TV content for various clients including American Express, the National Trust and nyc.gov. She recently co- directed and produced “American Dropout”, a television documentary that aired nationally on PBS. Kishori is also a contributing writer to Filmmaker Magazine. She will be next producing Anthony Onah’s feature Dara Ju and Anne Hamilton’s feature American Fable. She graduated with a degree in Film Studies from Columbia University, where she served as President of Columbia University Film Productions. She was awarded the Entertainment Partners’ Festival Winner Recognition Award in 2012.
Shayna helps manage operations and and supports the company’s creative efforts in developing the Durga slate. She played an instrumental role in the launch of Durga Entertainment and remains an integral part of the company’s logistics, as well as the marketing and promotion efforts. A New York City resident by way of the San Francisco Bay Area, Shayna got her start in the entertainment industry as the music director for her college’s radio station and later went on to co-host one of the top rated shows on Sirius XM Radio. In addition to lending her talents to such Fortune 500 companies as IAC and The Madison Square Garden Company, she conceived and is the Principal at The Diva Lounge, a multi-media company designed to connect female industry leaders with premium lifestyle brands.