Nisha Ganatra

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Nisha Ganatra
Born (1974-06-25) June 25, 1974 (age 45)
Alma materNew York University
  • Actress
  • filmmaker
Years active1996–present

Nisha Ganatra (born June 25, 1974)[1] is a Canadian actress, film director, film producer, and screenwriter of Indian descent. She received a Golden Globe award in 2015 for her work as a director and producer in the television series Transparent.[2]

She is best known for her films Chutney Popcorn (1999) and Cosmopolitan (2003), and for being a consulting producer on, and directing three episodes of the first season of the television series Transparent.[3] Ganatra graduated from the New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts where she studied with Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Growing up in her hometown of Vancouver, Ganatra explored her interest in film through acting and then decided to make the switch to pursue film-making as she wanted to effect cultural change.[1]

Ganatra began her film-making journey by studying at The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Though she wasn't studying film, she explored her interest by sneaking into screenwriting classes which eventually led her to creating short films.[1]

At age 21, she moved to New York City to pursue a film degree at New York University Film School (NYU). During her time there, she created a short film Junky Punky Girlz (1996) which won NYU's Tisch Fellowship[1] and most outstanding short film from PBS.[1]


After graduating from film school, Ganatra directed several episodes of MTV's long-running television series The Real World in 2001.[5] Prior to this she had written and directed two shorts and her critically acclaimed independent film Chutney Popcorn (1999).[5]

Ganatra is part of a mentorship program with NBC which seeks to provide talented female directors with the same opportunities as their male counterparts. This program selects female directors to be given the opportunity to shadow up to three episodes of an NBC series. The participants will then be able to direct at least one episode of the series in which she has been shadowing.[6]

When Ganatra was on the hunt for a cinematographer, she began to notice that the men's reels were far superior compared to the women's reels.[7] As a female director herself, she was accustomed to being overlooked in the hiring process in favor of men. She realized that the men had better reels not because they were more talented, but instead, because they had been given bigger budgets, better equipment, larger crews, and elaborate productions.[7] All of these elements allowed the men's work to be far superior, which motivated Ganatra to hire a female cinematographer and strive to hire female crews.

Personal life[edit]

Ganatra is openly lesbian.[8][9]



Year Title Director Writer Producer Role Notes Ref(s)
1996 Junky Punky Girlz Yes Yes No Short film
1997 Drown Soda Yes Yes Yes Short film
1999 Chutney Popcorn Yes Yes Yes Reena
2000 The Acting Class No No No Exotic Dancer
2003 Cosmopolitan Yes No No TV movie
2003 Fast Food High Yes No No
2005 Cake Yes No No
2005 Bam Bam and Celeste No No No Linda
2007 Don't Go No No No Shanti TV movie
2008 The Cheetah Girls: One World No Yes No TV movie
2011 Small, Beautifully Moving Parts No No No Mother
2013 The Hunters Yes No Yes TV movie
2013 Pete's Christmas Yes No Yes TV movie
2014 Code Academy Yes Yes Yes Short film
2016 Center Stage: On Pointe No Yes No TV movie
2019 Late Night Yes No No
TBA Covers Yes No No Filming

TV series[edit]



  • Futurestates (2011) (TV series, 1 episode)


  • Margaret Cho: Beautiful (2009), field producer
  • Cho Dependent (2011), field producer
  • Transparent (2014) (TV series, 10 episodes), consulting producer
  • You Me Her (2016) (TV series, 10 episodes), co-executive producer
  • Better Things (2016) (TV series, 9 episodes), co-executive producer

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Joanne Latimer, Dustin Dinoff, Marise Strauss, & Laura Bracken (2004). ""Playback's 10 to Watch: Canada's Hottest Up-and-Coming Directors, Actors and Writers"". Playback: Canada's Broadcast and Production Journal. 18 (21): 1.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "Best Television Series". Golden Globes. Archived from the original on |archive-url= requires |archive-date= (help).
  3. ^ Brodesser-akner, Taffy (29 August 2014). ""Can Jill Soloway Do Justice to the Trans Movement?"". The New York Times.
  4. ^ King, Loren. (9 June 2000). ""Ganatra Whips Up Light Chutney Popcorn"". Boston Globe.
  5. ^ a b Steinhart, David (8 March 2003). ""Learning at the feet of some of the best"". National Post. 4: 1.
  6. ^ Rathore, Reena (25 January 2018). "NBC Picks Indian American Nisha Ganatra to Mentor Next Generation of Female Directors". India West.
  7. ^ a b Winkelman, Natalia (15 June 2018). "The War on Hollywood Sexism: Ava DuVernay, Miranda July, Karyn Kusama, and More Directors Speak Out". The Daily Beast.
  8. ^ Tucker, Karen Iris. (6 June 2000). ""Popcorn confidential"". The Advocate.
  9. ^ Corson, Suzanne. (27 June 2007). ""Nisha Ganatra's On-screen Comeback"". afterellen on

External links[edit]