There’s nothing better than having a powerful and noteworthy mentor like Nisha Ganatra – who won a Golden Globe for her work as director/producer on the Amazon series “Transparent” – when you are a woman filmmaker, with some directing experience. And with her diverse TV director roster, Ganatra, who remains one of the most prominent South Asian directors in Hollywood, will most definitely offer something extra.
In a bid to provide talented female directors with the same opportunities as their male counterparts, NBC has launched “Female Forward,” an initiative to seek out and train women directors.
In the program, spearheaded by NBC president Jennifer Salke in partnership with acclaimed TV director Lesli Linka Glatter, selected female directors will be given the opportunity to shadow on up to three episodes of an NBC series. Their experience culminates with an in-season commitment for each participant to direct at least one episode of the series she shadows.
“Female Forward” will begin with the 2018-19 season on 10 NBC series with the intent of expanding the number of directors and shows in subsequent years.
The program, according to NBC, joins the network’s robust diversity and inclusion initiatives that under the leadership of Salke’s lieutenant Karen Horne have discovered and developed diverse onscreen and behind-the-scenes talent, including Indian American Mindy Kaling and Sharat Raju, and Alan Yang, co-creator of Netflix’s “Master of None.”
Ganatra, whose acclaimed debut feature, “Chutney Popcorn,” won several audience and best feature film awards at various national and international film festivals, including the Berlin International Film Festival, went on to direct shows such as “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Better Things” (where she also was a co-executive producer), “Mr. Robot” and “Transparent.” Most recently, she has had directing assignments on high-profile shows like “Future Man,” “Fresh off the Boat,” “Great News,” and “The Last Man on Earth.”
Joining the Indian American filmmaker on the advisory council to help select and mentor the filmmakers are Norberto Barba (“Mayans MC”), Ruben Fleischer (“Superstore”), Liz Friedlander (“Conviction”), Pamela Fryman (“How I Met Your Mother”), Peter Horton (“Electric Dreams”), Gail Mancuso (“Modern Family”), Ken Olin (“This Is Us”), Julie Anne Robinson (“Castle Rock”), Millicent Shelton (“Marvel’s Runaways”) and Michael Spiller (“Champions”).
To be eligible, candidates should have directing experience in their respective fields, including (but not limited to) feature films, music videos, commercials, digital content and theater. An applicant can have no more than one scripted TV directing credit to remain eligible.
Among the submission requirements are: one letter of recommendation from an advocate of the director who is not a talent representative, résumé detailing directing experience, bio, reel summarizing the director’s work, up to three completed samples of work, responses to two essay questions and one additional letter of recommendation.