- LOS ANGELES
Marta Cunningham, an accomplished actor/dancer/choreographer turned award-winning director, has joined MAJORITY, the production company with a diverse all-women roster of directors. It is her first foray into directing commercials and branded content.
Most recently Cunningham has directed multiple episodes for TV shows such as Insecure, Grace and Frankie, Fear The Walking Dead, Star Trek: Discovery and Dear White People. In 2017 she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Best Director for her work on the season 3 finale of Transparent. As an actor, she has appeared in more than 200 commercials.
“Marta is an exceptional talent. Not only does she direct with an elegant visual flair, but she has a special ability to get great comedic performances out of ordinary people as well as established actors,” said Senain Kheshgi, founder of MAJORITY and an award-winning director in her own right. “She’s used to working in really big productions as well as small ones. She is a writer and an actor: All of this informs her directing in ways that are different from most other directors.”
Cunningham’s first feature-length film, Valentine Road, debuted at Sundance in 2013 and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in Documentaries, as well as an Emmy Award. It tells the story of Lawrence King, a multiethnic gender-queer boy who was murdered by a white supremacist classmate during an 8th grade English class in Oxnard, Calif. The film traveled to more than 200 festivals and earned 13 awards. It now is available on HBO.
In 2014 Cunningham became a part of the Sundance Institute’s Film Forward Program, which aims to enhance cultural understanding, collaboration, and dialogue around the globe. She also joined the Sundance Institute’s Women Filmmakers Initiative. MAJORITY is a supporter of the Sundance Institute, and Kheshgi is a three-time Sundance Fellow.
“I am excited to be a part of MAJORITY’s groundbreaking success in opening up horizons within the industry with her visionary company,” said Cunningham. “I am really looking forward to entering the commercial and branded world from the other side of the camera.”
MAJORITY focuses on creating opportunities for women and female-identifying directors in commercials, music videos, and branded content while supporting their voices as independent filmmakers working on their own projects. The goal is to address gender and racial disparity within the commercial industry and to create a new pipeline to expand creative opportunities for a diverse group of women directors.
As Kheshgi points out, “Women drive the economy through our buying power and influence yet are only 10% of commercial directors. It is imperative that we cultivate the careers of diverse voices so we can see ourselves fully represented both in front of and behind the camera.”
MAJORITY directors had a strong start in 2020, with two Oscar nominations (Siqi Song for Best Animated Short Film and Laura Nix for Best Short Documentary) and an Emmy nomination and Peabody Award win for Nix. Recent work produced by the company includes a six-spot stop-motion campaign directed by Song for a London agency (due on air next month), a branded short film for Patagonia directed by Anjali Nayar, and a commercial for Renault and Publicis Paris directed by Angela Kohler.
MAJORITY is represented by Marla Mossberg of NCAHOOTS on the West Coast and by Shauna Seresin and Mary Knox at Minerva on the East Coast.