Portland casting director raising funds to finance Oregon-made films

A peek at what has been happening behind the scenes at Cast Iron Studios, thanks to the Portland Business Journal.

By Erik Siemers
Apr 24, 2014

Lana Veenker has played a role in some of the biggest film and TV productions to work their way through Oregon.

As president of Portland-based  Cast Iron Studios, Veenker served as casting director to NBC’s “Grimm” and TNT Network’s “Leverage,” as well as feature films including “Twilight” and “The Road.” More recently she’s working on the film version of the Cheryl Strayed book, “Wild,” that recently wrapped up filming around Oregon and starring Reese Witherspoon, and “The Librarians,” the latest TNT series by “Leverage” producer Dean Devlin.

Now she’s hoping to attract investors to finance projects featuring Oregon writers, actors, crew and locations.

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Photo Credit: Cathy Cheney

“I’d like a slate of projects to take advantage of all the benefits that Oregon has: good crews, a good talent base, amazing locations, lower prices,” she said. “I’m trying to find some great, socially progressive stories that we could turn into movies and keep people busy here.”

Veenker spent much of the past year vetting potential screenplays, fielding as many as 150 scripts and coming away impressed at the writing talent in Oregon.

She’s taken strategy meetings in Los Angeles. As one of the only U.S.-based members of the International Casting Directors Network, she’s also hoping to lean on her global contacts.

“To be able to draw on all those things to do projects in Oregon hasn’t been done before,” she said.

Many of those calls have been to assess the types of projects that might spur interest in Oregon.

How much she’ll raise and where it will come from remains an open question.

“Some of the funding will come from Oregon, some from overseas and bigger markets,” she said. “We want to keep as much of it local as possible because that gives us the leverage to keep the projects local.”

Veenker is the subject of the Business Journal’s PBJ Interview, which will appear in this week’s print edition, available to subscribers on Friday.

Link to original article.

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