Sameeksha Katyal: The latest Indian talent in Hollywood
Being a woman & person of color, Sam is striving to move beyond the stereotypical type casting in the movie industry. She is passionate about women empowerment.
The multi-talented Indian artist, Sameeksha Katyal is one of the few young and successful NYC based women filmmakers & actors. "The Interview from Hell" is her second venture, an office comedy which has gained over 75 selections at Film Festivals, screened in over 10 countries and won 20+ awards at various international film festivals in categories such as Best Director, Best Short Film, Public Choice Award, Best Comedy Film & The Best Director Award amongst others. Sam has also been nominated as “Best Actress” in the Spring Film Festival. On the making of ‘The Interview from Hell’, she comments, “Making a short film during a pandemic was probably the most insane idea I had, while my friends laughed at my lofty ambition, I was glad that two people believed in me and collaborated with me to turn it into a huge success.” The story revolves around the interview of Tom, the central character, by a polite interviewee Eve. She realizes that he is a bit intense as he unleashes his passion about the coming apocalypse and scares her. As everything was shut down due to lockdown, the movie was shot during the COVID pandemic in a private office space in New Jersey and their team connected with friends in the industry to help out with editing before submitting to film festivals.
‘Interview from Hell’ is Sameeksha’s debut as a sole Producer and Lead Actor. With the success of this venture, she wants to explore and conquer bigger horizons as an international artist. Being a woman & person of color, Sam is striving to move beyond the stereotypical type casting in the movie industry. She is passionate about women empowerment, and comments, “My brand is all about strong, independent women and their empowerment, and I have carried the same message throughout my acting roles and filmmaking endeavors”
She started her career in Delhi when she worked as an assistant director with National School of Drama artists Manish Mishra &Manoj Mishra on numerous theatre productions and short film projects. She also played the role of Maria in their big budget production of ‘Caligula’ and thereafter, went on to work with NDTV Goodtimes. She assisted the producer and by the end of her time there, she was managing production for popular shows like ‘Band Baaja Bride’, ‘The Buzz’ and ‘Get Fit with Rocky & Mayur’. Sam shares that she enjoyed the precision and the craft behind production and knew this was her mission in life. She went ahead to work with documentary filmmakers and in 2019, she wrote her first short film "U& Me" which was co-produced by her as the lead actor and was well received in film festivals, with seven nominations, The finalist award at the First Time Filmmaker Festival and the winner of Best Film in Drama category. It has been picked up for distribution by the BeBop Channel and will be available on RokuTV, Hulu, Vudu and Amazon TV in 2021.
Recalling her views on being an actor, Sameeksha shares, “I didn’t feel I was pretty enough to be an actress. In India, actresses had a standard look.. They carry themselves a certain way. Being a national level tennis player, boys in school always made fun of me, compared my muscles to theirs, even the girls of my class would tell me that my body looks very masculine, and I should grow my hair out to look like a girl. I feel comfortable with theatre acting but camera acting always made feel insecure”. However, this changed when she moved to the US and gained confidence enough to act in theatre productions and eventually walk as a model in the New York Fashion Week and the Dream Walk Fashion Show. Sameeksha recalls “I had to step out of my comfort zone, get over my insecurities and accept my 10 pounds heavier self on camera. While people commended my performances and I critically picked on them until I trained in Meisner Technique of Acting and realized there isn’t a bigger gift than being myself, the industry appreciated my uniqueness and my person on the camera. My vision is to empower women, to be themselves, feel comfortable in their skin and love their bodies.”
She is now working on writing her first feature film with the Director of the Playwriting Program at the Chelsea Repertory Lab in New York City
Her website www.sameekshalav.com lists more information about her current and future projects.
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