2019 has been a very busy year for television and film Producer Akanksha Prabhune. Currently based in Los Angeles, California, she says she enjoys being busy and working on projects that stimulate her mind. Born and brought up in Pune, India, Akanksha was inclined towards the world of showbiz from a young age. She is the first person in her family to pursue a career in filmmaking.
She recently wrapped work as an Associate Producer on season two of “Howie Mandel’s Animals Doing Things”, which is a comedy show that airs on National Geographic Wild. It is hosted and Executive Produced by well-known actor and comedian Howie Mandel, who is known for his work on the shows “America’s Got Talent” and “Deal or No Deal”. Post that, she worked as an Associate Producer on season two of “A Wedding and a Murder”, which is a true-crime show that airs on the Oxygen channel.
“Resolve”, a film she worked as a Producer on, has garnered a ton of praise and is an Official Selection at 15 film festivals around the world. The film is about a young woman who seeks to avenge the death of her mother. The film had a diverse as well as international cast and crew and won the Award Of Merit for Women Filmmakers, Ensemble Cast, Original Song, Script/Writer, Lighting and Award Of Recognition for Creativity/Originality at the 2019 Best Shorts Competition; Award Of Recognition for Film Editing at the 2019 Accolade Global Film Competition; and the Award of Prestige for Best Experimental Film at the 2019 Vegas Movie Awards. It was also screened at Regal LA Live, which is a prominent theatre in Los Angeles, the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, and at The Hen and Chickens Theatre in London.
Akanksha is an active member of the Women In Film organization that advocates and advances the careers of women in the screen industries.
“Roles written for women are slowly changing. The characters are fleshed out and the roles are substantial. There are more women hired to work behind the camera. It’s time that the industry changes and we see women and men get paid equally for the same amount of work,” she says. “People often underestimate the effect TV and film has on the audience but it’s pretty significant in shaping our society. Good content resonates and connects with viewers, and hopefully, they will have something to take away from it. I love watching films or shows that are thought-provoking and stay in my head for days.”
The television and film industries, both in India as well as America, are notorious for being fiercely competitive and cutthroat. People struggle for years to break in, and even after doing so, this profession can be financially unstable. Akanksha admits that it can be challenging at times, but she tries to focus on the positive aspects.
“Failure is inevitable in any industry and it comes in many forms – maybe the audience won’t like your film, or you won’t find a job for many months, or money is tight. Obviously, failure makes you feel dejected, and that’s okay. The important part is to brush it off and try again. Surrounding yourself with people who support and encourage you can also play a significant part. I am fortunate to have family and friends who do that.”
“What makes Akanksha unique is her versatility as a Producer. She has worked on different genres of TV shows and films and successfully so. Not everyone is able to pull that off. Her roots and background influence her storytelling and that makes her stand out as a Producer working in Hollywood,” says Manikandan Mathivanan, an award-winning Cinematographer who has worked with the likes of YouTube star Rudy Mancuso, celebrity interior designer Kahi Lee, and celebrated artist, Domingo Zapata. “She has made a name for herself in a short amount of time and in my opinion, that makes her exceptional.”
“Akanksha likes to give her 100% to every project she takes on. We have worked together on numerous projects and what I like about her work is her balance of finding a space to be creative yet thinking about the logistical aspect of the production without letting her artistic vision suffer,” says Marvin Akanyi, an award-winning film producer from Los Angeles.
A proficient Producer can steer a film in the right direction. However, a lot of responsibility rests on his/her shoulders and being able to navigate that is a substantial task.
“I like to think of producing as putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Everything slowly falls into place. Depending on the size and budget of the project and your title on it, you’re basically involved from beginning to end.”
In today’s world, it’s common to be a multihyphenate and work in different capacities. Akanksha says she is ready to branch out and expand beyond producing. “I’m inspired by people like Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria who wear many hats and are successful at it. I am working as a Producer right now, but I want to direct and write as well. There are a couple of projects in which I’ll actually be in front of the camera for the first time, so I am really excited about that.”