Marta Kauffman is an Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning television writer, producer and showrunner. Having earned her BA in Theater Arts at Brandeis University, Kauffman and then-writing partner David Crane – whom she met at Brandeis – got their big break in the early 1990s after two of their television pilots were greenlit, including Dream On (1990) and The Powers That Be (1992). It was during their run as head writers on Dream On that the pair met producer Kevin Bright, with whom they would later launch Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, eventually producing the smash success series, Friends.
During its 10-year run (1994-2004), Friends landed 63 Emmy nominations, winning Outstanding Comedy Series in 2002. Bright/Kauffman/Crane also found success in the hit television sitcoms Veronica’s Closet (1997-2000), starring Kirstie Alley, and Jesse (1998-2000), starring Christina Applegate.
In the years following her partnership, Kauffman served as Executive Producer for several inspired television projects, including the television series Related (2005-2006), and the widely acclaimed television movies Five (2011) and Call Me Crazy: A Five Film (2013). Both projects featured top-tier female talent in front of and behind the camera, creating short vignettes that focused upon breast cancer and then, two years later, about mental illness. In 2012 Kauffman also took her first venture into the world of online viewing, writing and directing all three episodes of the series Georgia for the YouTube network for women, Wigs (www.watchwigs.com).
In 2015, Kauffman started her production and development company, Okay Goodnight, with industry veterans Robbie Tollin and Hannah KS Canter. Their first series, the comedy-drama Grace & Frankie, debuted its fourth season on Netflix January 19 and is currently in production on season 5. Grace & Frankie is co-created with Howard J. Morris. The series features a dream-team ensemble top-lined by veteran actors Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston in a story about two nemeses, Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin), whose husbands (played by Sheen and Waterston) announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married – bringing the women together in a strange and often hilarious twist of fate.
Kauffman produced the documentary Seeing Allred with co-directors Roberta Grossman and Sophie Sartain, which will debut at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The project reunites her with Grossman and Sartain, with whom she worked previously on 2014’s Independent Lens: Mimi and Dona, 2012’s Hava Nagila: The Movie and 2008’s Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh.
Kauffman and OKGN acquired the rights to the best-selling novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler, which was the winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award and is currently in development. Kauffman is also developing an American version of the wildly popular Israeli TV family drama Shtisel, which will be called Emmis in the United States.
In 2016, the Writers Guild of America, West awarded Kauffman and her Friends partner David Crane with the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for lifetime achievement in television writing. Kauffman also received the 2016 Outstanding Television Writer award at the 23rd annual Austin Film Festival & Screenwriters Conference.