THE VERDICT IS IN: The Wonderland Murders Season 2 is live!
Word is out that Season 2 of the hit true-crime series, “The Wonderland Murders”, has just premiered on Investigation Discovery.
Set in the backdrop of the vast and oftentimes dense and dark PNW, the series tells the real-life stories of local Pacific Northwesterners who encountered tragedy, and the subsequent pursuit for truth, answers and closure.
Production kicked off last winter, and took over the region leaving no clues uncovered. With a host of characters from all corners of the state, our local actors brought these stories to life, portraying real people and giving a voice to the voiceless.
Be sure to catch it Wednesdays at 6:00p PDT on ID. (Check local listings.)
Kicking off the summer season with new connections and old friends
Cast Iron Studios hosted an intimate happy hour this week, celebrating a few new members of the Oregon Media and Production Association. This select group was joined by the Cast Iron team, along with a handful of studio friends, to connect, discuss the latest up-and-coming production buzz, and enjoy some delicious bites and bevs!
Thanks to everyone who joined in on the fun and conversation. Cheers to a new season with plenty of exciting, fresh projects barrelling down, or shall we say ‘shooting’ down the local production pipeline!
Z&Z will have a one-week theatrical run in Los Angeles, opening May 17th. Join some of the cast and crew for opening night, or any time that week. The film will run four times a day at the Laemmle Noho Theater, times TBA.
WATCH THE FILM ON VOD, PPV or DVD
Can’t make it to LA? Z&Z comes out on DVD and VOD/PPV in mid-May. Like the project’s Facebook page for updates.
Leading up to the event, improv and comedic actors paired up and threw down their best British accents in one of the loudest and most eventful casting sessions on this side of the Atlantic. Ultimately cast for the cheeky roles were actors Josh Edward and Damon Kupper, who held court on April 19th in Director Park as passersby were encouraged to gather round and egg on the royal duo as they “made way for the Queen”!
The boisterously hilarious and engaging Town Crier interacted with the crowd in attempts to crack up and make guffaw the ever so straight and stoic Queen’s Royal Guard. The best wisecracks and wittiest of jokes reigned–and the further the Royal Guard’s guard was let down, the chance for someone to win a trip to London went WAY UP! Congrats all around on a successful live event.
…And the flight hasn’t officially taken off yet! There’s still time to jump onboard and enter the contest!
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!
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.
Casting Director Eryn Goodman and Casting Associate Ranielle Gray made a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles in late January to attend the 2019 Artios Awards, and meet face-to-face with members of the casting community, who are so often only at the other end of a phone or email exchange from our cozy corner here in the Pacific Northwest.
Among those honored at the Casting Society of America’s annual awards ceremony were Robert J. Ulrich, Eric Dawson and Carol Kritzer. UDK Casting received the Hoyt Bowers Award for Excellence in Casting.
Also taking home a top honor for the night was Laura Dern, presented with the Lynn Stalmaster Award for Career Achievement by #OregonMade Wild director Jean Marc Vallée. Cast Iron Studios cast around 30 principal roles in the Oscar-nominated film, based on Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir.
And though we of course cheered for all nominees and winners, we were especially glad to see so many of the casting directors we’ve worked with over the years be honored for their achievements, including David Rubin (Wild), Corinne Clark (Timmy Failure) and Jennifer Page (Timmy Failure) for Children’s Pilot and Series (Live Action) “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, Meg Morman and Sunday Boling (“In the Vault”) for Shortform Series “Relationship Status”, and Margery Simkin (Extraordinary Measures) with Michael Donovan and Associate Richie Ferris for Special Theatrical Performance Mamma Mia!.
Thank you so much to everyone who showed their support for the Oregon Food Bank by participating in the 8th annual Meals for Monologues event on December 14, 2018. We were thrilled that The Studio NW invited us into their beautiful space and hosted us all for the day.
Official word from the Oregon Food Bank is that we as a community pulled together 336 pounds of food and $453.07 in donated funds this year. All combined, that’s enough to provide approximately 1,611 meals for hunger relief directly to our neighbors.
In addition, we were given amazing total numbers that Meals for Monologues has gathered over the 8 years we’ve been doing this! Since 2011 we’ve helped to provide over 16,000 meals! We couldn’t do it without you, and we’re thrilled to spearhead this event year after year.