The production company OddLot Entertainment has made or invested in quite a range of projects in recent years, including the coming-of-age dramedy The Way, Way Back, the film adaption of the sci-fi novel Ender's Game, Jon Stewart's directorial debut Rosewater, and last year's best picture nominee Hell or High Water.
OddLot's founder is Gigi Pritzker, and film production is just one division of her company, Madison Wells Media, which also has projects in virtual reality and live theater.
It's been a good year for Pritzker. Hell or High Water was in awards contention and so is her first television project, Genius on National Geographic.
If Pritzker is a familiar name it may be because her family is one of the richest in the country. Gigi Pritzker could have gone into any of a number of family businesses, but when she spoke to us from her home town, Chicago, she said she knew in college she didn't want to do that. Though she wasn't planning to get involved in Hollywood, either. She tells us about how her plans to run an NGO in Nepal got derailed by a professor who recommended she go to film school.
She also shares how she ended up executive producing the Nat Geo anthology period drama Genius, the first season of which focused on Albert Einstein (Picasso is up next for Season 2). The series is nominated for 10 Emmys this year--including Outstanding Limited Series. Actor Geoffrey Rush is in the race for his performance and Ron Howard is nominated for directing.
Pritzker spent years trying to make a film about Einstein but found that the project wasn't working--until it shifted into television. This was new territory for her--as well as for a lot of other players in the series. She tells us about the transition from film to TV and how it ended up being a lot of women who brought the Einstein story to life.