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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).

 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Bad Samaritan in theaters this weekend!

by Cast Iron Studios Staff

We are thrilled to announce Bad Samaritan hits the theaters this weekend! We loved working on this film. Be sure to check out these amazing Pacific Northwest actors!

Lorraine Bahr, Jacob Resnikoff, David Meyers, Tony Doupe, Sofia Hasmik, Delpaneaux Wills, Bob Pescovitz, Hannah Barefoot, Danny Bruno, Dana Millican, Jerry Bell Jr, David Withers, David Hogan, Emily Kimball, Brenda Braxton, Alex Donnolo, Jared Q Miller, Sam Bangs, Austin Fullard-Leo.

 

Watch the trailer here:

 

“Dean Devlin is a masterful director and does a fantastic job of slowly and mercilessly building tension scene-by-scene. The entire cast gives strong performances including Kerry Condon as Erendreich’s prisoner Katie (who delivers what is probably my favorite line of the film). David Tennant is unrelentingly intense and razor sharp as Cale Ehrendreich.” – Casey Walsh, GWW

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Northwest Actors Making Good with “Bad Samaritan”

by ranielle

Despite a few weather delays due to the Snowpocalypse of 2017, the Portland-filmed “Bad Samaritan,” starring David Tennant and directed by Dean Devlin, wrapped filming in January.

The film centers on two young car valets (Robert Sheehan and Carlito Olivero) who use their business as a front to burglarize the houses of their unsuspecting patrons. Life is good for the petty thieves until they target the wrong house, changing their lives forever.

Cast Iron Studios was responsible for casting around 20 of the supporting roles, and Director Dean Devlin, a longtime fan of shooting in Oregon, couldn’t stop raving to us about the quality of his Northwest cast.

Kudos to all of our actors! We can’t wait to see the finished product.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What’s New in Portland Film & TV? AM Northwest Finds Out.

by admin

Great to see KATU’s Dave Anderson again (after his star turn on Leverage episode 408, which will air in a few weeks!) on this morning’s AM Northwest.

Portland is buzzing with TV and Film productions. Casting Director Lana Veenker stopped by to tell us what’s happening now…and how we might get in on the action.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Cultivating a World-Class Talent Pool 1000 Miles from Hollywood

by admin

Thanks once again to Bonnie Gillespie for featuring Portland in her column The Actors Voice – POV for Showfax.com.

Cultivating a World-Class Talent Pool 1000 Miles from Hollywood
Lana Veenker’s POV: Portland Casting
The Actors’ Voice – POV
May 1, 2011

This fantastic contribution from Portland casting director Lana Veenker is not one meant to warm the hearts of Los Angeles-based actors, hoping production is headed back to Hollywood. It’s a column about how local talent has stepped up its collective game to attract–and retain–major productions in the past few years. “Come for the tax breaks; stay for the talent,” could be the new minor-market motto, you might say.

Cultivating a World-Class Talent Pool 1000 Miles from Hollywood

In November 2008, I found myself in the Los Angeles offices of Electric Entertainment, meeting with the executive producers of TNT’s Leverage. They were considering moving their entire production to Oregon, but they had one big concern:

Was the local talent pool deep enough to fill the needs of their show, episode after episode, season after season?

Sure, my Portland-based company had provided casting on some big movies (including Twilight, Extraordinary Measures, and Feast of Love, to name a few) and some smaller ones (such as Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park), but it had been at least 15 years since a television series had set foot in the state.

Film and television production had just begun hitting its stride in Oregon when British Columbia implemented its film incentive program in the 1990s. This move–combined with a favorable exchange rate on the Canadian dollar–all but killed the momentum in the Northwest. Hollywood began to look past the forests, mountains, and lakes of Oregon, to the forests, mountains, and lakes of Vancouver BC and surrounding areas.

Many Northwest actors and crew who had been earning a decent living in their hometowns were suddenly faced with the decision to either uproot their families and move to Los Angeles (where there was still work to be found), or leave the industry altogether.

The creation of film tax incentives in Oregon in 2003–along with a more equitable exchange rate–has brought many of the jobs back to the Northwest, and we’ve been rebuilding our industry ever since. So when executive producer Dean Devlin threw down the gauntlet that November afternoon, I told him (a tad boldly, in retrospect): “Absolutely. We have enough actors to cast that for you in Oregon. No problem.”

Based in part on that assertion, Leverage announced a few months later that it was coming to Oregon.

Panic set in.

I knew what this meant to our film office, to the hundreds of crewmembers counting on these jobs, to Northwest actors searching for a reason to stay here, and to my own bottom line. I understood the financial commitment that Electric Entertainment was making–and the damage my career would sustain–if I failed to live up to my word.

I thought we had a strong enough base of actors to meet the demands of the show, but I had no idea whether or not our talent pool would truly meet their expectations, nor for how long.

My office organized a “town hall” meeting, which was attended by hundreds of Northwest actors. This time, it was my turn to throw down the gauntlet. An entire production company was moving its TV show to Portland, partly on my word. To prepare for it, I told actors, we were expanding our offices and staff, and upgrading to a new online casting system.

Now, I needed them to deliver the goods.

We challenged our talent pool to do everything in their power to up their game, whether that meant getting new headshots, assembling more professional demo reels, improving their online presence (website, IMDb, etc.), or recommitting themselves to ongoing training. I knew we had a number of actors who could compete in any market, but I was concerned that we might use them all up in our first season. I needed the next generation to step up and meet the challenge. And man, have they done so!

I can’t keep up with the number of weekly industry nights, script readings, and screening events going on in Portland, much less the countless independent films and webseries shooting around town. Our top acting coaches’ classes are filled to capacity, workshops are selling out, and it seems like every actor I encounter is in a show, penning a script, producing a short film or feature, volunteering as a reader in casting sessions, or simply focused wholeheartedly on training.

Talent agency rosters are filling out with new actors we never knew about before, and highly professional on-camera talent are hoofing it from as far away as Bend, Eugene, Ashland, and Medford to attend our casting sessions in Portland, never complaining about the commute. In my 11 years of casting in Oregon, I’ve never seen actors this motivated. And their determination is paying off.

Homegrown filmmaker James Westby–whose film Rid of Me features a cast made up almost entirely of Northwest actors–has captured the attention of the prestigious TriBeCa Film Festival (his previous made-in-Oregon feature, The Auteur, was hailed by TriBeCa organizers as “the funniest film in the festival”).

We are now in our third season of casting on Leverage, with over 38 episodes under our belts. Its producers and directors are still as thrilled as they were their first year in town, when they realized that–although they had budgeted to fly up four or five actors per episode from LA–the average (not including name actors hired to satisfy the network) was closer to one per episode. At times, none are flown in at all, local actors having snagged all the guest star and co-star roles themselves.

Since then, other pilots, films, and series have hit the Oregon Trail:

    • Meek’s Cutoff starring Michelle Williams, Restless by Gus Van Sant, and Extraordinary Measures starring Harrison Ford, all filmed in Oregon in 2009.

 

  • The IFC series Portlandia (starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein) shot six episodes in Portland last year, and just got picked up for another ten.

 

 

  • TNT has increased its order for Leverage from 15 episodes in season two, to 16 in season three, to 18 this year.

 

 

  • NBC chose Oregon for its made-for-TV-movie A Walk in My Shoes in 2010, while Brain Trust (the TBS pilot we cast in December) may go to series this fall.

 

 

  • 2011 is projected to be the busiest year for film and video production in the state’s history. So far this year, in addition to the first few episodes of Leverage season four, we have cast Grimm for NBC (the highly anticipated pilot by the producers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel), and Gone, a Lakeshore Entertainment thriller starring Amanda Seyfried.

 

If Leverage and Portlandia continue to be successful, and Grimm and Brain Trust both get picked up, we will have four television series shooting concurrently in and around Portland.

I’ve heard the rumblings of more Hollywood films joining this wagon train in months to come, and local actors continue to lend their talents to dozens of indie projects, plays, commercials, industrials, infomercials, and voiceover gigs. In fact, more and more Northwest actors are now piecing together a fulltime living from their acting endeavors. This would have been almost unheard of just a few years back.

There’s never been a better time to be an actor in Oregon, and our actors have never impressed me as much as they have of late. Sean Hayes–one of the producers of Grimm–raved about the quality of our talent base after we had completed casting on the pilot. Gone producer André Lamal and director Heitor Dhalia did the same after our first round of callbacks. Leverage directors keep asking, “Where are you finding these people?!? How come we haven’t run out yet?”

Is there an endless pool of actors in the Northwest? Of course not. Are there categories in which I wish we had more options? Umm, yes. (Hint: if you’re a strong, non-Caucasian actor of any type–especially over 30–or a strong actor who fits the thug/bad guy or cop/security guard type, now might be a good time to hitch up your wagon and head west… or north, as the case may be). But what our actors, coaches, acting schools, independent producers, and directors have managed to accomplish over the past few years has been nothing short of remarkable:

They have created an environment that supports and cultivates a world-class talent pool a thousand miles from Los Angeles, and three thousand miles from New York City.

As long as we keep endeavoring to raise the bar professionally–each generation of artists helping to groom and inspire the next–the momentum will continue and the pool will be replenished. In fact, I’ve already made it a habit to tell producers: “Give us a shot at the lead roles. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

—–

Kudos to you, Lana, and to all the local talent keeping so many major productions so well cast and well acted! Let’s hope all actors with the opportunity to work under local hire status in other markets see this as a great time to take advantage of all the great stuff going on. Congratulations, Portland, on getting better and better! Very exciting!

About Lana Veenker

Lana Veenker began her career in London as a casting assistant on international co-productions for major studios and networks. When the Portland native returned to her roots in 1999, she launched what is now the Northwest’s most successful casting company, helping to raise the bar on what producers can expect from a regional talent pool. She is a member of the Casting Society of America and the International Casting Directors Network.

 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oregon Filmmakers Testify before Joint Tax Credit Committee on HB 2167

by admin

In case you missed this the other day, Oregon filmmakers visited the State Capitol in Salem last week to testify before the Joint Tax Credit Committee on HB 2167, the bill that would extend and expand our state film incentive program.

Committee members later said that this hearing was a model for how legislative hearings should go, as Oregon film industry members painted a very clear picture of the value of our incentive program from every possible angle.

Legislators first heard testimony from Dean Devlin, Executive Producer of TNT’s Leverage, Vince Porter, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Film and Television, Steve Oster, Producer of the NBC pilot Grimm and former Executive Director of the Film Office.

They were followed by producers, crew members and vendors from around the state, a talent agent and casting director (moi!), and two representatives from educational institutions offering Film Studies programs.

As Co-Chair Berger summed it up: “This has been a real revelation of an industry that some of us, we only see what’s up in front, we don’t see all the things that are going on behind. Fascinating.”

You can listen to the audio of the hearing here:

RealPlayer required (free download here).

Friday, July 30, 2010

TNT Renews "Leverage"

by admin

TNT/Erik Heinila

TNT announced today that it has renewed Leverage for a fourth season.

Leverage is currently averaging 4.1 million viewers in its third season, showing growth among young adult demos when compared to the second season. The series boasts a loyal following, as indicated by its strong performance in time-shifted viewing. For the first five episodes this summer, Leverage has grown its total audience by 60% when compared to live viewing (33% compared to Live + Same Day).

Leverage is executive-produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day, TNT’s The Librarian trilogy) and creators John Rogers (Transformers) and Chris Downey (The King of Queens). The series is produced for TNT by Devlin’s Electric Entertainment.

Read the full press release at the Turner Newsroom.

Congratulations to everyone!