About the Film

The Film

Vanastree (working title) is currently in post-production and is set to premiere in December, 2012. The film seeks to share not only the inner workings of the cooperative, but also the voices and perspectives of its members. It follows Manorama Joshi, a seed-leader, entrepreneur and co-founder of the cooperative who reaches out to new members and keeps the spirit of the cooperative high; Sunita Rao, the director and co-founder of Vanastree whose vision continues to inspire those around her; Shyamala Hegde who works to preserve bio-diversity and educate others in her region, and many more.

These women are the heart of Vanastree and also the core of this story. The film will focus on their lives, concerns, dreams, hopes, and accomplishments, as told by each woman. It will also present the efforts, challenges and successes of Vanastree as the group works to generate critical solutions to regional problems and improve local communities. At its core this film will be about hardship and perseverance, environmental challenges and conservation, women who are relegated to their homes and women who are working for change. This is a film about empowerment and a way forward.


We are seeking the following assistance:

  • Funding for translation, editing, and distribution expenses
  • Editing assistance (especially sound and color-correction)
  • Distribution

The Filmmakers

Co-creators Kelly Skye and Megan Toth are both master’s graduates in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. In fall of 2011 they traveled to Southern India where they collaborated with Sunita Rao, Manorama Joshi and others to film and document Vanastree’s efforts.

Kelly Skye

is a graduate from the  Environmental Studies masters program at the University of Oregon and a current student in the Digital Media MFA program at UC Santa Cruz. She is also an aspiring documentary filmmaker and new media artist. She is interested in participatory documentary film and photo-making that breaks all the rules, is interactive, dynamic and socially engaged.  After receiving a Fulbright grant she lived in India for 6 months and worked with the Ashoka Trust for research in the Ecology and the Environment to document school gardening programs. She also co-created a film about the Vanastree seed collective. This was a life changing experience which strengthened her belief that film and visual media can be a powerful tools for cross-cultural communication, activism and change.

Megan Toth

is master’s student in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon (UO) focusing on gender, conservation, and community empowerment. She was born and raised in Missoula, Montana and received her undergraduate degree in Biology and Society from Cornell University. This last fall she traveled to India to pursue research with two progressive environmental organizations and collaborate on a visual case study that documents the inner workings of Vanastree. Together with her colleague Kelly Sky, she worked alongside Vanastree members to film their collective efforts. She also worked with an affiliate organization of Vanastree while in India, the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) to film and document their sustainable gardening program in schools around Bangalore. Upon completion of the Vanastree and ATREE film projects, Megan intends to work with organizations here and in India to showcase Vanastree’s efforts and to promote awareness about the important issues of environmental health, woman’s empowerment, and cross-cultural collaboration. After graduating from the UO, she would like to continue to work on these issues and to explore film as a tool for communication and empowerment.


Joor Baruah

is an film-maker, musician, digital artist and a social entrepreneur. He has been involved with this film as a  creative consultant, associate editor and music director. Having grown up in rural India he provides valuable  insight to  this project. He will also lead our post production marketing and distribution.





Special Thanks to:

Tarun Kalita– Musician (Original Sarod soundtracks)


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