Actress & Filmmaker Sameeksha Katyal is one of the few successful NYC based women, aspiring to make it big in Hollywood. 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 7 nominations, 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.
She was born and raised in India, and had been involved as a writer, theatre director and actor in India with directors and actors from the National school of Drama in Delhi. She then moved to the US in 2016 on a scholarship to study at Drexel University where she studied Economics and Acting. She has starred in many productions in India, at Drexel and in New York.
Since 2019, she has been actively involved with the Chelsea Repertory Lab at the Acting Studio in Manhattan, NYC for learning where she trained in the Sanford Meisner Techniques of acting under studio director James Price and has been a part of numerous Broadway theatre festivals. Sam is training in Voice, Speech and Accents at the Studio. She is now gearing up on her first feature film with the Director of the Playwriting Program at the Chelsea Rep Lab.
As a woman & person of color, Sam is striving to break the glass ceiling by bagging significant roles and move beyond the stereotypical type casting in the movie industry. Her struggle therefore becomes harder than her peers, “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”.
"The Interview from Hell" is her second venture, an office comedy has gained over 45 selections at Film Festivals and won 10 awards, already at various international film festivals in categories like Best Director, Best Audience Choice in August 2020, Best Short Film, Public Choice Award amongst others. It has been screened in numerous countries worldwide. Sam shared “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.”
Interview from Hell is Sameeksha Katyal’s debut as a sole Producer and Lead Actor. Frank DeChirico, her mentor from NYFW has helped direct the firm, to narrate its compelling writing. With the success of Interview from Hell, Sameeksha or Sam, now wants to explore a larger horizon as an international artist in the otherwise dominated Hollywood industry. She wants to use her experience and films as a platform as a way to spearhead her journey and inspire many Indians, especially women who want to pursue a career in acting & filmmaking in Hollywood.
The idea for the film struck her when one of her friends, Michael was fired and was struggling with finding jobs during the pandemic. When he narrated his experience to her, Samiksha realized her experience of working tirelessly at her finance job. She asked him to put a draft involving his experiences. This was how The Interview from Hell happened! The pandemic which then followed gave the title that interesting edge of how people are going through their own version of hell during these challenging times.
Given its realistic dramatization, Interview from Hell has won accolades from both American and international press. The story evolves on the interview of Tom, the candidate, by a polite interviewee Eve. She realizes that this guy is a bit intense as he unleashes his passion about the coming apocalypse and scares her. The movie was shot during COVID in a private office space in New Jersey. As everything was shut down when countries were following global lockdowns, their team connected with friends in the industry to help out with editing, background music and finishing before submitting to film festivals. It took us 2.5 months from March to May to complete post-production.
She has also been a successful model, and now a business mentor at Drexel University and also has contributed to the #HeforShe campaign as a Youth Volunteer. As a former international level tennis player, she also runs a free Tennis Boot Camp in summer in New York for encouraging female participation in sports.
To discover latest updates on the film, visit her official website www.sameekshalav.com or follow production developments via Facebook or Instagram @sameeksha.lav
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