In The Mix

In Search of Singularity

An Annapurna exec sifts through books and scripts, seeking projects with “a singular vision.”

Mara Reinstein
  • Christina Gandolfo

A few months ago, Ali Krug binged one of her all-time favorite shows.

She dug back into ABC's short-lived '90s drama My So-Called Life and felt her heart rip in two watching Claire Danes's angsty Angela Chase pine for Jared Leto's Jordan Catalano. "There was still a gut punch every five minutes," she says. "It really captured what it meant to be in high school. What an amazing show."

As vice-president of the TV arm of Annapurna Pictures since its inception, Krug aims to capture that same emotionally unique quality in her projects.

"I seek out weird points of view that can't fit in a specific box," she says. She's particularly thrilled about Search and Destroy, based on the 2015 memoir of Sleater-Kinney rocker and Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein. The '90s-set dramedy, recently picked up by Hulu, focuses on a girl coming of age in the Pacific Northwest punk scene. "It's funny and poignant and honest," Krug gushes.

She's also developing two dramas from former Gossip Girl and Quantico executive producer Josh Safran. (She describes one as "It Follows meets The Sixth Sense.") No wonder she was named to The Hollywood Reporter's prestigious "Next Gen" list last year.

Like hundreds before her, the Los Angeles native started her career as an NBC page at 30 Rock in New York City. Owing to the 2007–08 Writers Guild strike, she was relegated to giving studio tours for nearly six months. Upon landing an assistant job to then-HBO Entertainment president Sue Naegle, Krug returned home and worked her way up through the ranks as her boss created Naegle Ink — which folded into the newly launched Annapurna TV in September 2016.

"We're trying to emulate what Annapurna has done on the film side and take filmmaker-and writer-driven vehicles that have a singular vision," Krug explains.

Indeed, since 2011, Annapurna Pictures has put its producing stamp on bold films ranging from Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty to David O. Russell's American Hustle to, most recently, Paul Thomas Anderson's The Phantom Thread.

On the TV side, Annapurna has nearly 20 projects in the works. Krug, who's been wed to writer Theodore Bressman for three years, is reluctant to relate the keys to her success. She cops to being a dogged worker who squeezes in only five hours of TV a week because she's so busy poring over books and scripts.

"I come to the table prepared," she says. And above all else, "I'm an advocate for writers and producers. I'm just as passionate as they are about the stories they want to tell."

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 6, 2018