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Monday, November 4, 2019

Casting Director Lana Veenker on jury at Rome Film Festival

by admin

Plans to celebrate a milestone anniversary for Cast Iron Studios were postponed after the company’s founder, Casting Director Lana Veenker, was invited to serve on the jury of the Rome Film Festival’s Alice Nella Città program on October 26th, 2019.

“Spending my 20th anniversary in casting as a jurist at the Rome Film Festival was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” said Veenker. The other jurists included Talent Agent Frédérique Moidon (France), Cinematographer Alfonso Maiorana (Canada), and Producer Uliana Kovaleva (Russia).

Lana Veenker at Rome Film Festival, October 26, 2019.

Veenker, who spent about a decade overseas before founding Cast Iron Studios in 1999, has always incorporated her love for travel and languages with her vocation in the entertainment industry. She studied theatre in Paris and Cambridge, and performed on stages in four countries and three languages prior to landing a job in a London casting office in the late 90s. She has lectured in more than 20 countries, and in 2008, was one of the sole Americans to have been inducted into the International Casting Directors Network (headquartered in Berlin), where she currently serves on its first official board of directors.

On October 26th (the date of Cast Iron Studios’ first casting session 20 years prior), Veenker was on stage again, this time in Rome to present the DO Cine Rising Talent Award for Best Young Performer (International Panorama), which was awarded to Belgium’s Anna Franziska Jäger for her performance in Cleo. Other award presenters included Carlo Verdone, one of Italy’s most renowned actors, and Screenwriter Nicola Guaglianone.

Casting Director Lana Veenker presents the Alice Nellà Citta DO Cine Rising Talent Award (International Panorama) at Rome Film Festival, October 26, 2019. Photo Credit: Carlo Verdone.

 

Following a photo call and interviews with the Italian press, Veenker held a master class and Q&A moderated by Italy’s first lady of cinema, Mrs. Piera Detassis, President of the Italian Film Academy (David di Donnatello Awards; the Italian Oscars), with the participation of Actor Lorenzo Richelmy, star of Netflix’s Marco Polo.

Master Class with Lana Veenker at Rome Film Festival, October 26, 2019.

 

Piera Detassis, Lana Veenker and Lorenzo Richelmy at Rome Film Festival, October 26, 2019.

 

The day ended with a celebration dinner with Italy’s top casting directors and fellow ICDN members, Beatrice Kruger, Francesco Vedovati, Lilia Trapani Hartmann and Barbara Giordani.

“It was a whirlwind weekend, with an incredibly warm welcome from everyone at the Rome Film Festival, especially Talent Agent Daniele Orazi and Producer Carla Mori,” said Veenker. “Once they learned about my 20th anniversary, they rolled out the red carpet to make it an unforgettable experience.”

While Cast Iron Studios’ anniversary celebration back home has been postponed to a yet-unknown date, the weekend’s events in Rome represented a full circle for Veenker.

“I began my career with the dream of working internationally, and have somehow realized that goal, even while remaining based in Portland. It felt like an affirmation of more than two decades of hard work.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click below to listen to one of Lana’s interviews in Rome:


Monday, April 29, 2019

Cast Iron Studios takes flight with Delta Airlines and the Port of Portland with non-stop laughter!

by Cast Iron Studios Staff

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Cast Iron Studios had the royal honour and an absolute blast in teaming up with Sparkloft Media, The Port of Portland and Delta Airlines recently in a campaign to promote Portland’s only non-stop flight to London.

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”!

Damon Kupper as the Town Crier & Josh Edward as the Queen’s Royal Guard

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!

Win a free round trip flight to London – Click to enter! 

A proper shout-out to Producer Kate Adolphson and Social Media Strategist Alexandria Goodwin of Sparkloft Media for the fun gig. The actors had a jolly good time, and so did we!

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).

 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sarajevo Film Festival puts a spotlight on casting—and on local casting director

by Cast Iron Studios Staff

Oregon Casting Director Lana Veenker invited to one of Europe’s largest film festivals as part of a weeklong program drawing international focus to the casting profession

(Portland, OR) On August 15, 2018, when the International Casting Director Award is handed over to the winner at this year’s Sarajevo Film Festival in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Oregon casting director Lana Veenker will be on hand.

Not only is Veenker—alongside longtime Portland colleague Eryn Goodman and Los Angeles casting director Heidi Levitt —nominated for Best Casting of a Feature Film (for Bad Samaritan by Dean Devlin), she is part of a team invited by the Festival to produce a special program centered on the casting profession, entitled “Casting at the Heart of Filmmaking.” The program is sponsored by Sarajevo Film Festival, Spotlight, and the International Casting Directors Network (ICDN).

Veenker, who got her start in casting in London and spent a decade abroad before founding her company in Portland in 1999, is one of the only American casting directors to have been inducted into the association. The ICDN currently has more than 80 members hailing from 23 countries, and provides a network for casting directors from around the world to collaborate and exchange ideas. Its members meet each year at Berlin International Film Festival.

Founded in 2005 under the auspices of European Film Promotion’s Shooting Stars program, the ICDN became its own independent association this February at the Berlinale, and Veenker—a member since 2008—was elected to its first official Board of Directors. “It’s funny how things come full circle,” said the Portland native. “Jeremy Zimmermann—the London casting director who gave me my big break—was also elected to the Board, so now we’re working together again after 20 years.”

In less than a week, Veenker will join prominent casting directors from countries such as Italy, Poland, Germany, Turkey and the UK to present a series of events at Sarajevo Film Festival highlighting the art and craft of casting. Included are a master class with Debbie McWilliams (the legendary casting director of the James Bond franchise); a panel featuring Italian casting director Francesco Vedovati (Nastro d’Argento winner for Best Casting for Wondrous Boccaccio, as well as this year’s Cannes breakout hit, Dogman), an international acting workshop for a group of 15 performers selected from the regions of ex-Yugoslavia, and of course, the Award Ceremony, presided over by Festival President Miro Purivatra.

“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to pull together,” says Veenker, “but what I’m most excited about is that we’re bringing Meals for Monologues to Sarajevo.” Meals for Monologues (first conceived by Chicago casting director Claire Simon, and now practiced by casting companies across the U.S.) is an open casting call/food drive, where actors have the chance to audition in exchange for cans of food for the needy.

Cast Iron Studios, Veenker’s company, has hosted a Meals for Monologues in Portland every year for the past seven years, so when the ICDN Board was debating what it could do for the refugees as part of its Sarajevo program, she jumped in to organize it.

“Meals for Monologues is such a great event, because it’s a win for everyone: The actors get to meet casting directors; we get to discover new talent, and the food bank gets its shelves stocked. In Sarajevo, we’ll have nine or ten internationally-known casting directors auditioning actors from all over former Yugoslavia—a vibrant region with lots of talented, professional performers who rarely get a chance to be seen outside their home countries.” In exchange for their three minutes of fame, actors will make symbolic donations of food, blankets and hygiene supplies. All proceeds will benefit Sarajevo-based non-profit, Pomozi.ba, which provides support and advocacy for the growing number of refugees in Bosnia-Herzegovina.