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The Coconut is an intimate family portrait that follows the misadventures of twenty-two year old Shani Banerjee who is an aspiring singer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Shot on HD, the film takes an unflinching look into the life of a struggling artist who repeatedly goes against the wishes of her family in order to carve out a career for herself in the music industry. Torn between her dream to record an album and the financial burdens of finishing her education, Shani decides to drop out of university to write music and gain “life” experience. Moving back home she finds herself faced with more familial obligations than she had at university. Her father has lost his job, and her mother, who has Multiple Sclerosis, is paralyzed from the neck down and completely dependent on home care. As Shani desperately tries to follow her dreams, the relationships in her life begin to unravel and music becomes a reflection of the responsibilities that she cannot escape.



Select Screenings:

Vancouver International Film Festival 2011, Amerasia Film Festival Montreal 2012, CIMMFest 2012 (Chicago)


DirectorNimisha Mukerji is an award-winning director whose debut feature 65_RedRoses was one of the first official selections for Oprah Winfrey’s Documentary Club on OWN. The film won top prizes at the Arizona International Film Festival (Best Documentary), Omaha International Film Festival (Audience Award Best Documentary), Mendocino International Film Festival (Audience Award) and the Vancouver International Film Festival (Audience Award Best Canadian Film). At the 2010 Banff World Television Awards 65_RedRoses won Best Canadian Program following it’s broadcast premiere on CBC’s The Passionate Eye. For her work on the film Nimisha was awarded the 2009 Artistic Merit Award from Women in Film Vancouver, the 2010 Don Haig Award at Hot Docs International Film Festival as well as garnering a 2010 Gemini nomination for Best Direction in a Documentary Program (Canada’s version of the Emmy’s). Nimisha’s narrative short films have screened internationally and her documentary short The Coconut won Omni’s Cultural Diversity Award and Super Channel’s 2010 Documentary Award. In addition to directing for television, Nimisha is currently completing her feature documentary Blood Relative, which has an anticipated release date in fall 2012. Nimisha is an alumnus of the CTV National Fellowship Program as well as TIFF’s Talent Lab (’11).


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Shanyontani aka Shani Banerjee
(in her own words):
Shay⋅on⋅tani  /Bengali/
Show Spelled Pronunciation [Shy-ohn-thonee] I can't quite remember when I fell in love with music; I'm going to guess conception...but it took about 4 years and 9 months after that for me to write my first song... I was about five when I wrote it down... Now, 16 years after that, at 21, I have continued song writing and am trying my best to grow with every new note. I am a vocalist, violinist, and visual artist that has written and recorded everything from Hip Hop to Folk, Jazz and Blues, and my most recent venture into Electronic Glitch. Tell your friends.
With Love, Shayontani

Director Nimisha Mukerji and Cinematographer Mike Rae