In the late 2000s, Meshchaninova was one of the directors working on "School", a gritty pseudo-documentary TV series that Russia's main state broadcaster Channel One showed during prime time in a bid to update its formats. Back then, Natalya was overshadowed by her fellow director Valeriya Gay Germanika, which was not surprising given that Germanika had already won European recognition thanks to a Cannes premiere of her film "Everybody Dies But Me" (2008).
Overall, the early styles of Germanika and Meshchaninova were similar, probably as a result of the training they received from leading Russian documentary filmmaker, Marina Razbezhkina. Like "Everybody Dies But Me", Meshchaninova's first film, "The Hope Factory", is a tough coming-of-age story unfolding against the backdrop of a bleak industrial landscape. The director set the film in her hometown Norilsk, located beyond the Arctic Circle with an atmosphere as bleak and despairing and the heavy metal pollution that stains the landscape.
Her pseudo-documentary manner of filmmaking, utmost authenticity and interest in social issues firmly place Meshchaninova in the tradition of auteur cinema, which tends to depict extreme situations in life. This subject matter is a favorite at many festivals, so the world premiere of "The Hope Factory" in 2014 was hosted by one of the world's most prestigious festivals for debut films - Rotterdam.
Since then, Meshchaninova has worked in TV (as the director of the Russian remake of the Spanish series "Red Bracelets"), and last year she wrote the script for Boris Khlebnikov's film "Arrhythmia", due for release later this year.