2019 Emmy’s: Martha Sparrow

Art Director Martha Sparrow on her second Emmy win and third nomination for her work on The Handmaid’s Tale.

DGC Ontario Art Director Martha Sparrow won her second Emmy Award for Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program for her work on The Handmaid’s Tale episode “Holly” at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony this past weekend. Martha won in the same category last year. We spoke with Martha ahead of her win about her third nomination and designing for the show. The 71st Primetime Emmy’s take place this Sunday at 8:00 p.m.

How does it feel to be nominated for your third Emmy for The Handmaid’s Tale?

Elisabeth (Williams)Rob (Hepburn) and I are thrilled to be nominated again. It is an honour to be considered among the best in our field. I feel very lucky to have been able to join this exceptional group of creators, and owe the nomination to the very hard working people on our team.

A scene from The Handmaid's Tale

Why is “Holly” a stand out episode?

“Holly” feels like a climactic chapter in the arc of the season. June comes to a house in the woods and goes through an arduous time alone: giving birth to the child she’s been bearing. Unlike other episodes, it takes place largely in one location. The house we created was intrinsic to the mood of the episode.

A scene from The Handmaid's Tale

What is the most rewarding aspect of designing Handmaid’s?

I’ve always firmly believed that storytelling is one of the most effective ways to examine and speak critically about our reality. I can’t tell you how fulfilling it is to be able to use my skills as an Art Director towards a project that feels politically relevant. Being part of creating this show, and seeing the impact it has had as a tool for political discourse, has made me feel a little less helpless and disconnected in the face of the current political climate.

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