Director – Martha Cotton

MARTHA COTTON stumbled into directing because she didn’t like the way others used the footage she shot as a news/documentary cinematographer.  “I was always disappointed with the results because I would have this vision in my head of the ‘big’ picture while I was shooting.

“One of my mentors told me to stop complaining and start directing.”  Which she did.


She jokes that she’s had guns pointed at her in eleven different languages, during her work as either network staff or as a freelance documentary producer/director (for such diverse companies as NBC News and Fox Entertainment).  She has worked in such far-flung places as Pakistan, Nigeria, Cambodia, Mozambique, Mexico and Texas.



Martha has also spent some time teaching – most recently in Lagos, Nigeria with the New York Film Academy.

From News to Drama
She transitioned to the world of feature films on UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, a movie set in the world of TV news.  That film led to VOLCANO, where Martha produced, wrote, cast and directed all the news elements in the film.  She served as either a first unit video producer/director or consultant on other films, such as DEEP IMPACT, ENEMY OF THE STATE, THE NEGOTIATOR, an HBO film, as well as an NBC pilot about the TV news business.

Partnered with Peter Tortorici, she developed and wrote a miniseries for cable.  She has also consulted with writers and producers in the script development process and is currently collaborating on several film and television projects with other parties.

She also co-wrote and directed a 3D documentary about the origins of the universe and the Big Bang Theory.  She interviewed Nobel laureates and Templeton Prize winners for the project – even the head of the Vatican Observatory!

With talent on the green screen set of the 3D doc










She recently did a script polish on a film about baseball (she is a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan so 2011 was a VERY good year!).

American Film Institute
Martha was selected as one of eight participants in the American Film Institute’s prestigious Directing Workshop for Women.  The short film she directed, GLORY GIRL (produced with generous support from Dreamworks), has won critical recognition, including an award for creative excellence at Telluride Indiefest, and qualified for consideration in the 1998 Academy Awards.

Other Interests
Martha is an active member in both the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America.  She has produced several events for the women’s steering committee at the DGA.

At the PGA, she is active in the diversity committee, helping others get their voices heard; as well as with the team that produces ongoing seminars for the membership to keep them updated on the latest developments in the industry.

Competing back in the day

In the past she was an avid equestrienne – and hopes to get back to it one of these days.  Martha still keeps up with the sport, and attends show jumping events whenever she can.

Awards & Recognition

  • Several Emmys and Emmy nominations
  • Columbia DuPont Award(s)
  • Robert F. Kennedy Foundation Award
  • Chicago Film Festival Award
  • Chosen for the American Film Institute’s prestigious Directing Workshop for Women
  • GLORY GIRL – Winner for Creative Excellence at Telluride Indiefest, qualified for consideration in the 1998 Academy Awards
  • Promising Minority Director – DGA Single Camera Directing Program
  • Director for the CBS/Writers Guild Showcase (one of 7 chosen)

Martha Cotton on IMDb