IMDBTocaya Films ABOUT

Ambika Subra

Screenwriter, Founder, Set Designer,
Art Director, Graphic Artist, Storyteller

Based in Mexico City and New York, Ambika has worked across various fields – from film/television to contemporary art, metaphysics, design, and complex systems. Most of her research focuses on cross-industry interconnectedness and horizontal, decentralized networks. She studied film, architecture, and philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London. 
        As a set designer, art director, and graphic artist, her work can be seen in Aaron Sorkin’s “Trial of the Chicago 7”, AppleTV’s “WeCrashed,” and many more. She was also one of the 5 artists behind the collective Badlands Unlimited, founded by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Paul Chan. (links to the left)
        After developing a proposal for a technological-creative hub between Hudson Yards (NY) and the disruption-thinktank RethinkX, Ambika extended a similar concept of multidiscilinary collaboration into the film industry.  She has since co-founded Tocaya Films alongside director Monica G. Carter in Mexico City. A film collective studio, Tocaya  expands film beyond the screen into the real, and into community. By connecting the genre of film to a multi-disciplinary system, Tocaya’s stories operate in the grey-area that exists between poles, between genres, away from categorical echo-chambers. We embrace the discomfort of the unknown, understanding that its a point of universality where cultures intertwine and evolve as an organism. 

b. 1992; based in CDMX and ny
iatse 829 - Scenic design

  • 2015 - MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK, with Honors (focus on complex systems)
  • 2014 - BFA Film Theory and Sculpture, summa cum laude, Washington University in St. Louis

  • Present
  •           Tocaya Films, CDMX - Co-founder, Screenwriter

  •           MXC, CDMX - Creative Director

             University of Alabama - Graphic Artist for Grants, Informational Graphics
  • 2023
  •           Connescence, Feature Film, New York - Graphics

  •           Origin, Feature Film by Ava Duvernay, Georgia - Art Director, Graphics
  • 2022
  •           Run The World, Lionsgate/Starz, New York - Graphics

  •           Eileen, Feature Film by William Oldroyd, New York - Graphics
  • 2021
  •           Florida Man, Netflix, North Carolina - Set Designer

  •           Equalizer S2, NBC, New York - Graphics

  •           WeCrashed, AppleTV, New York - Graphics
  • 2020
  •            Equalizer, NBC, New York - Graphics

  •           Colin in Black and White, Netflix, New York - Set Designer

  •           Kal Penn Approves This Message, Freeform, New York - Production Designer

  •           The Flight Attendant, HBO, New York - Set Designer / Graphics / Art Director
  • 2019
  •           Mrs. America, FX, New York - Art Director (S1, E2)   

  •           The Trial of the Chicago 7, Feature Film by Aaron Sorkin, New York - Set Designer

  •           The Wilds, Amazon TV, New Zealand - Set Designer

  •           The Deuce, Created by David Simon and George Pelecanos, HBO, New York - Graphics, Art Director, Set Designer
  • 2018
  •           City Morgue, “Lamborghini Getaway” and “Caligula” Music Videos, NY - Production Designer

  •           Charm City Kings, Feature Film by Angel Manuel Soto, Baltimore - Graphics

  •           Tigertail, Feature Film by Alan Yang, New York - Art Director

  •           Before You Know It, Feature Film by Hannah Utt, New York - Art Director

  •           Aloe Blacc, “Brooklyn in the Summer” Music Video, NY - Production Designer

  •           Red Bull Music Festival, Solange Knowles / Teyana Taylor / Serpent with Feet - Set Designer

  •           Sunlit Night, Feature Film by David Wnendt, New York - Graphics
  • 2017
  •           Monsters and Men, Feature Film by Ronaldo Marcus Green, New York - Graphic Designer and Set Designer
  • 2015-17
  •           Badlands Unlimited, New York - CFO and Head of Research and Development, Assistant Editor


  • “Selected Writings of Carroll Dunham,” by Carroll Dunham; Edited by Paul Chan, Assistant Edited by Ambika Subramaniam; Published by Badlands Unlimited, 2017
  • “Fantasian,” by Larissa Pham; Edited by Micaela Durand, Parker Bruce, and Ambika Subramaniam; Published by Badlands Unlimited, 2016.
  • “Indignant,” by William Loftie (M. Casey); Edited by Ambika Subramaniam; Published by SUB/SUR Editions,
  • “Return of the Super Maria Sisters,” by Ambika Subramaniam; Edited by Dr. Dan Smith; Published by Sub-Concrete Press; SUB/SUR Editions; Hato Press, 2015

Awards / Exhibitions
  • 2021
  •             Art Directors Guild Awards -- Nominee, Excellence in Production Design, Period Film for  “The Trial of the Chicago 7” by Aaron Sorkin

  • Art Directors Guild Awards -- Nominee, Excellence in Production Design, One Hour Television Series for “The Flight Attendant” Episode 106 “After Dark”
  • 2019
  •            Greene Naftali, “Publish & Perish: 8 Years of Badlands Unlimited, New York, NY”
  • 2017
    Whitney Museum of American Art, “An Incomplete Protest: ‘New No’s’ By Badlands Unlimited”
  • 2016
  •            Book Works Semina Series 2016-2017 (manuscript shortlisted)
  • 2015
  •            Clifford Chance Exhibition Design Award, University of the Arts, London (nomination)
  • 2015
  •            Unstitute, Spatio-Mnemonic Digital Residency
  • 2014
  •            John T. Milliken Residency Grant, from Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France
  • 2014
  •            Caroline Risque Janis Prize in Art and Design
  • 2014
  •            Sam Fox Award in Art and Design - Washington University in St. Louis

Articles and Reviews
  • 2017 - Badlands Unlimited, Publisher’s Weekly, Review of “Into Words: The Selected Writings of Carroll Dunham”

  • 2017 - Badlands Unlimited, ArtReview, March 2017, “What kind of art is being spawned in the place that spawned Trump?”

  • 2017 - Badlands Unlimited, Mousse Magazine, Issue 57, “What do we know?”

  • 2017 - Badlands Unlimited, Dazed Digital, “Facebook bans controversial anti-Trump protest posters”

  • 2016 - Badlands Unlimited, NYTimes “Best Art of 2016” for the work “New No’s”

  • 2015 - London Journal of Critical Thought, “Digital Ontologies”

  • 2014 - It’s Nice That, “Furniture Design: Ambika Subramaniam”

  • 2014 - Temporary Art Review, “Of Zebraification: A Review of Cousins Presents ‘Faceless’”