Shashi Balooja is an award winning actor, filmmaker and producer and director who was born in Trinidad, grew up in Antigua and completed his schooling in Canada. After several years of owning two bars in Antigua and a successful run in international sales, with no prior experience in acting, or the entertainment industry, he moved to New York to attend the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and was admitted to their Professional Program.
After working extensively on stage, television, and film, he produced, co-wrote, co-directed, served as executive producer, and starred in the 27-minute short film ARIANA, which won numerous awards including Best Story and Best Screenplay at the Italian Short Film Festival “arrivano i corti”. Shortly thereafter, he appeared and starred in 4 feature films including AND THEN CAME LOVE, starring Vanessa Williams and Eartha Kitt, which he also co-produced. The film is currently being distributed by Warner Brothers and the WE Network. Shashi is the executive producer, co-director, and lead actor in the film EXPOSED, which is currently being released, and is a supporting actor in the recently released film GAMETIME aka THE DUAL.
Some of his numerous stage credits include “Equus” with Alec Baldwin, “Moby Dick” with Peter Boyle, and the title role in “Julius Caesar”. He also co-produced and starred in August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie” at The Blue Heron Theater in NYC . For the past 8 years Shashi has performed in several main stage productions at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall, Easthampton New York, and has been an integral part of The Naked Stage/Hitfest, now a 501-C3 non-profit entity.
Repeat television performances include “Law and Order SVU”, ”Third Rock”, and “As the World Turns”. He is currently developing a reality-based program documenting the development of rising stars in the performing arts., Last summer he produced and starred in the "Tennessee Williams play "In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel", off-Broadway. He is currently developing 5 feature film projects and several web and television projects in the US and internationally. His upcoming play “OUT”, written by Rain Pryor will be produced off-Broadway in the Theatre District in 2014. He has been in development for his upcoming feature MAMA GRACE which was packaged at the prestigious Caribbean Tales Incubator and pitched during TIFF 2013 (Toronto International Film Festival). It will be a Canadian and Carribbean co-production.
Shashi is founder of ABC Film & Video, LLC – now DBA Media at Large – which produces independent projects for film and television, industrials, documentaries, and theatrical and music videos. As voted by a panel of 200 angel investors and venture capitalist’s from the Funding Post in 2007, ABC Film & Video was named “one of the top emerging companies under the leadership of actor Shashi Balooja” and touted on the Reuters news board in Times Square.
He has been involved in and continues successful philanthropic and fundraising efforts with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, MTEAF (Maria Torres Emerging Artist Fund), The Public Theater, The All Stars Project, and The John Drew Theater at Guild Hall. Shashi was recruited by NBC Universal to participate in last year’s Fusion Festival/Access LA, sponsored by NBCU and Outfest. The festival included table discussions with senior executives on the state of diversity with respect to programming.
Shashi studied International Business at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, earned a Bachelor of Science in Business and Theater from Marymount Manhattan College in New York and is pursuing a Master of Science in Humanities & Film at NYU.
James White is co-owner of Media at Large, a small boutique production company with over 10 years’ experience developing original diversity-based content, feature films, short films, industrials, commercials, videos, and off-Broadway plays. James’ producer credits include two award winning films: the full length feature film Exposed and the short film Ariana. He has also produced several stage plays including the off-Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel. James has a number of new projects in development including the short film Subject 1, the full length feature film Mama Grace, and the off-Broadway musical Hyde & Seek.
Additionally, James works at Credit Suisse on the Americas Diversity & Inclusion team. In this role, he provides strategic consulting and thought leadership on creating an inclusive culture, believing that, through inclusion, companies can create a more diverse workforce that drives innovation and therefore, business results.
James was selected to represent Credit Suisse on the PFLAG Business Advisory Board and served as Co-Chair of PFLAG's inaugural 2014 event "HOT! A Celebration of the Season", hosted by Chef Anne Burrell.
James serves on the Board of Directors of the Kenneth A. Smaltz Sr. Foundation, focusing on advocacy, education, and the care of families living with Alzheimer's. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Maria Torres Emerging Artists Foundation, co-founded by Vanessa Williams, whose mission is to empower pre-teens and young adults from diverse, underserved communities to achieve their professional goals in the performing arts.
Most recently, James was been selected to join the faculty of the 2015 spring and fall Diversity & Inclusion New Leaders Academies at The Conference Board where he will co-lead a diversity “innovation lab”, designed to evolve today’s diversity “best practices” to tomorrow’s thought leadership.
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