Director Nisha Ganatra made a major mark at this year’s Sundance Film Festival with Late Night, which earned a standing ovation, rave reviews and $13 million from Amazon, the highest price ever paid at the fest for a film by a female director. Written by Mindy Kaling and co-starring Kaling and Emma Thompson, the comedy is a departure from reality in the sense that it centers on a veteran late night talk show host (portrayed by Thompson) who’s a woman. Late night talk, after all, is a male-dominated arena.
However, looking to make art imitate life on a parallel track, Ganatra is pushing to become a comedy director in the spotmaking/branded content sector, another area traditionally the province of men. Shortly after Sundance, she signed with Chelsea Pictures for her first commercial representation. Ganatra brings major comedy chops to Chelsea, not just with Late Night but also for her Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated work on Transparent (Amazon). She is the co-EP and director of You, Me, Her, as well as co-EP and director of the Pamela Adlon series Better Things.
Ganatra said that she was drawn to Chelsea by David Gordon Green, a director there, and company president Lisa Mehling.
“Breaking out in advertising and becoming a force is something I want not just individually but as a way to help other women do the same. There’s tremendous comedic talent among so many women and that needs to be brought to bear in commercials. We’re watching women creating incredibly funny television yet no one is asking anyone in that world to do commercials. That seems strange to me.”
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