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Friday, March 8, 2019

Exciting news for NW actors on International Women’s Day

by ranielle

In honor of International Women’s Day, Cast Iron Studios is excited to share some great news for Northwest actors!

Cast Iron Studios Incorporates Inclusion Rider

From its yearly Talent Diversity Initiative, to its participation in nationwide casting calls for transgender actors and performers with disabilities, to its commitment to always questioning the way roles are written—in order to create more opportunities for women, LGBTQ performers and others—Cast Iron Studios has long been an advocate for underrepresented performers.

Now, inspired by the work of the Annenberg Institute, Cast Iron Studios is working on incorporating an inclusion rider into its casting deals. “The idea is to challenge ourselves,” said President and Founder Lana Veenker, “as well as the production companies we enter into contract with, to more affirmatively seek opportunities for actors who have been historically underutilized.” 

This inclusion rider will serve as a benchmark for all future projects; celebrating and ensuring the widest possible range of equity, diversity and inclusion. Based in part on the Annenberg Institute’s open-source template, Cast Iron Studios’ rider will also invite clients to make an optional financial contribution towards the Talent Diversity Initiative (TDI), which provides high-quality, intensive actor training to performers of color (and potentially, in the future, to other underrepresented groups) at no cost to the actors.

The goal of the TDI is to create a larger pool of qualified diverse talent for productions to choose from when shooting in the Northwest by removing the financial barrier to high-quality training, opening doors to networking opportunities in the local film and television community, and funneling participants towards bona fide acting coaches, talent agents, managers and casting companies. 

“Graduates frequently go on to book roles in local productions,” said Veenker,” reducing the need for our clients to hire outside of market. By including this provision in our rider, we’re asking clients to not only hire more underrepresented artists today, but to help us build the talent pool of tomorrow; one that more accurately reflects the demographics of the world we live in.”

Roles for Women Hired Locally Increase by 20%

We’re also very happy to report that a recent snapshot of the stats for roles for women cast out of Cast Iron Studios shows an increase in roughly 20% over the past couple of years—and we’re determined and passionate about keeping this momentum going in all areas.

However, there’s still plenty of work to be done, as the stats for women across the board in Film/TV are still pretty dire, both in front of and behind the camera.

According to a recent study by The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, male leads vastly outnumber female leads—71.3% compared to 28.8%—over a ten year span. This means that men’s stories were featured twice as often as women’s stories.

Behind the camera, according to a survey released by the Center for the Study of Women in TV/Film at San Diego State University, “The Celluloid Ceiling” by Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., women made up only 20% of all the directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers who worked on the top 250 films in the last year.

In the words of Geena Davis:

“How do we encourage a lot more girls to inspire to lead? By casting droves of women in STEM, politics, law and other professions today in movies.” 

For women, performers of color, LGBTQIA+ performers, and performers with disabilities, here’s to (cast) ironing out the gaps!

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Cast Iron Studios supports “Salute to Our Star” Fundraiser for Actor Robert Blanche

by Cast Iron Studios Staff

Robert Blanche is one of the Northwest’s most recognizable actors.

Renowned Oregon actor Robert Blanche received a life-saving double lung transplant in August, but has had a difficult time recovering. A Portland resident, Robert has been in ICU in Seattle for six months, with his wife and daughters (ages four and six months old), living nearby. Local SAG-AFTRA members therefore dedicated their January 27th SAG Awards Viewing Party to him, by hosting the “SOS: Salute to Our Star Robert Blanche Fundraiser.”

Our team first met Robert nearly 20 years ago, casting him in various commercials and print campaigns. Since then, he has appeared in many of Cast Iron Studios’ film and TV projects, including NBC’s A Walk In My Shoes, TNT’s Leverage (recurring as Detective Captain Bonanno), and over 30 episodes of NBC’s Grimm as Sergeant Franco. A beloved actor in the community, Robert and his work continue to be celebrated today amongst industry colleagues, union members, friends and family.

The SAG Awards Viewing Party and “SOS: Salute to Our Star Robert Blanche Fundraiser” was a standing-room-only smash hit. One hundred “friends of Robert” showed up to the Lake Theater in Lake Oswego, and raised over $2,500.00 for Robert and his family. The raffle was an amazing success and many union members walked away with delightful goodies, including Amanda Fugate-Moss and Myhraliza Aala, who each won an actor career counseling session, donated by Cast Iron Studios. Additionally, Kristina Haddad won a 2-night hotel voucher, contributed by Casting Associate Ranielle Gray.

With $17,000 left to raise in order to reach their goal, there’s still time to donate! The campaign runs until Valentine’s Day – and what better way to celebrate than a heart full of love and support for Robert.

Donate to Robert’s Fundraiser

Congrats to the raffle winners, kudos to the union volunteers who made this fundraiser possible, and our best wishes to Robert in his recovery.

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Friday, December 28, 2018

Happy New Year from Cast Iron Studios!

by Cast Iron Studios Staff

The team at Cast Iron Studios wants to thank our clients, and the Northwest talent agents, managers and actors who helped make 2018 our busiest year to date!

Many thanks also to Oregon Film, the Portland Film Office, OMPA, SAG-AFTRA, our supportive city and state legislators, and our wider film and television community for making this a wonderful place to carve out a profession in the entertainment and advertising industries.

In gratitude, Cast Iron Studios was proud to support the following non-profits in 2018:

Oregon Food Bank (Food & Donation Drive via Meals for Monologues)
Central City Concern (Portland Homeless Outreach)
California Community Foundation (Wildfire Relief Fund)
Natural Resources Defense Council (Environmental Advocacy)
Southern Poverty Law Center (Fighting Hate/Extremism/Bigotry)
American Civil Liberties Union (Civil Rights)
MercyCorps (Disaster Relief)
Habitat for Humanity (Fostering Home Ownership)
Emily’s List (Supporting Progressive Female Candidates)
OSPIRG (Save the Bees Campaign)
FreeGeek (Digital Equity through Environmental Sustainability)
Kiva (Microloans to Low-Income Entrepreneurs around the Globe)
Impact NW (Combating Poverty in Portland)
Planned Parenthood (Reproductive Healthcare)
Vietnam Veterans of America (Veterans’ Advocacy)
The Rebuilding Center (Salvaging & Recycling Building Materials)

And in honor of our furry friends:

Oregon Humane Society
Humane Society for Southwest Washington
West Columbia Gorge Humane Society
Home at Last Humane Society
DoveLewis Emergency Pet Hospital
Pet Partners (Therapy Pets)
Intermountain Therapy Animals
Guide Dogs for the Blind
Guide Dog Foundation

Please consider making a year-end donation to one of these deserving organizations. As a bonus, many of them are currently matching donations through December 31st!

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous 2019,

Lana, Eryn, Ranielle and the CIS Team

 

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Eryn Goodman and Lana Veenker nominated for International Casting Director Award

by Cast Iron Studios Staff

In case you missed it, earlier this month, our own Eryn Goodman and Lana Veenker were nominated–alongside L.A. Casting Director Heidi Levitt–for the 2018 International Casting Director Award for “Bad Samaritan,” directed by Dean Devlin!

Lana was on hand at Sarajevo Film Festival for the Award Ceremony, and also helped her fellow International Casting Directors Network colleagues to produce a week-long program of events focused on the casting profession as part of the Festival. Check out the press release below!

ICDN Casting Directors Tusse Lande (SE), Anja Dihrberg (DE), Lana Veenker (US), Timka Grin (BA), Beatrice Kruger (IT), Debbie McWilliams (UK), Harika Uygur (TU), Magdalena Szwarcbart (PL) and Nancy Bishop (US) pose with 2018 International Casting Director Award Winner Francesco Vedovati (IT) (second from left).

FRANCESCO VEDOVATI WINS 2018 INTERNATIONAL CASTING DIRECTOR AWARD

ICDN Award for Best Casting presented on August 15that 24th Sarajevo Film Festival

(Sarajevo, BA) On August 15th, the International Casting Director Award was presented to Italian Casting Director Francesco Vedovati at Sarajevo Film Festival. Festival President Mirsad Purivatra presided over the Ceremony.

The Award was established in 2016 by the International Casting Directors Network (ICDN), and represents the first ever international prize for best casting of a feature film.Board President Beatrice Kruger noted in her opening remarks that casting directors are virtually the only department heads to receive main-titles credit on a film without a corresponding national award (such as an Oscar , César or Lola). The ICDN therefore introduced the prize two years ago at Locarno Film Festival to help increase awareness of the essential role that casting directors play in the production of a film.

Vedovati won for the Matteo Garrone film “Dogman,” which made a splash earlier this year at Cannes. He had previously earned laurels from the Italian press association–the Nastro d’Argento–for Best Casting for the same film.

“This is the second award that I have received for this movie,” said Vedovati, “but for me, this is very special, because it is an award given by colleagues. […] It’s also very important to me, because, in the history of Sarajevo, I am the first casting director to receive an award for casting, so this will remain a part of history.”

2018 International Casting Director Award winner Francesco Vedovati with ICDN Board President Beatrice Kruger and Sarajevo Film Festival Director Mirsad Purivatra.

Casting Directors representing 14 different countries received nominations for the International Casting Director Award:

ROMANIA

FLORENTINA BRATFANOF
Touch Me Not
by Adina Pintilie

SWEDEN

JEANETTE KLINTBERG*
Sami Blood
by Amanda Kernel

SPAIN

CAMILLA-VALENTINE ISOLA*
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
by Terry Gilliam

ITALY

FRANCESCO VEDOVATI*
Dogman
by Matteo Garrone

GERMANY

ANJA DIHRBERG*
Casting Willi Herold:
JACQUELINE RIETZ
The Captain
by Robert Schwentke

IRELAND

AMY ROWAN*
CARLA STRONGE
Kissing Candice
by Aoife McArdle

NORWAY

METTE HOLME NIELSEN*
BELINDA SØRENSEN
U – JULY 22
by Erik Poppe

THE NETHERLANDS

MARINA WIJN*
Just Friends
by Ellen Smit

ISRAEL

EMMANUELLE MAYER
Scaffolding
by Matan Yair

FRANCE

SARAH TEPER
LEILA FOURNIER
120 Beats per Minute
by Robin Campillo

UNITED KINGDOM

SHAHEEN BAIG
Lady Macbeth
by William Oldroyd

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

TIMKA GRIN* (as Timka Grahic)
Casting Turkish actors:
HARIKA UYGUR*
Never Leave Me
by Aida Begic

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

HEIDI LEVITT
LANA VEENKER*
ERYN GOODMAN
Bad Samaritan
by Dean Devlin

SWITZERLAND

CORINNA GLAUS*
Blue My Mind
by Lisa Brühlmann

 

 

 

*ICDN Members


In addition to the accolade, the ICDN and Sarajevo Film Festival teamed up to present a full program of events centering on the casting profession from August 12th to the 16th. Entitled “Casting at the Heart of Filmmaking,” the program comprised of panels, Q&As, an international acting workshop, a master class through Talents Sarajevo, an Award reception hosted by Spotlight, and “Meals for Monologues,” a food drive/casting call benefiting the refugees of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Participating casting directors included Debbie McWilliams (UK), Beatrice Kruger (IT), Harika Uygur (TU), Anja Dihrberg (DE), Timka Grin (BA), Lana Veenker (USA), Francesco Vedovati (IT), Nancy Bishop (USA), Tusse Lande (SE) and Magdalena Szwarcbart (PL).

“It’s amazing that on behalf of the Festival and myself that I can welcome so many prestigious casting directors to Sarajevo for the first time,” said Festival Director Purivatra. “And I’m quite sure that this week-long program focused on casting is going to be important, not only for you who are members of ICDN, but also for so many talents from the region […]. I hope we will not only build this together as the most prestigious event for casting directors, but that actors and actresses will also be almost queueing here. It’s going be a ‘must’ event.”

ICDN Casting Directors Francesco Vedovati (IT), Debbie McWilliams (UK), Lana Veenker (US), Magdalena Szwarcbart (PL), Harika Uygur (TU) and Beatrice Kruger (IT) pose with Sarajevo Film Festival Director Mirsad Purivatra (rear center).

 

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