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How To Cast Your Indie Film

Congratulations, you’re making a movie! All you need is the perfect cast and you're ready to go… But what steps should you take to find your dream team?  Should you hire a casting director or consult performer’s unions? And what happens after you’ve found your actors? How do you get what you need in the audition room?

This dynamic panel will answer these questions and more. Learn how professional casting directors, agents and producers navigate this challenging terrain.

Stephanie A. Perry is the New York Director of Television and Theatrical Contracts at the Screen Actors Guild, where she is responsible for overseeing administration as well as the enforcement of entertainment contracts in the New York area. Prior to joining the Screen Actors Guild, Perry worked for such conglomerates as 4 Kids Entertainment, Marvel and Pfizer. A graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia and the University of Buffalo Law School, Perry is an attorney and an active member of the New York Bar since 2000.

Casting director Adrienne Stern is known for working closely with directors and producers to secure casts that open doors to festivals and distribution. Her films have premiered at Sundance, Toronto, Cannes, Tribeca, Berlin, South by Southwest, Seattle and many other prominent festivals. The Sundance premieres include Broken English, Adrift in Manhattan, The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle, Girlstown, The Believer, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, Online, Bleach and This Revolution. Stern recently cast Elektric Children, Prism, Those Who Wander, AWOL, Blood & Circumstance and Electric City. Her TV credits include New York casting for That 70’s Show, where she was responsible for casting Ashton Kutcher, and Welcome to Greenpoint  for FX. Commercials include the Dove Real Beauty Campaign, Philips Norelco, Amex, D'Angelo, Kool-aid , ESPN, Infiniti, Moma and more. She was Casting Director of The New York Sundance Writers Lab Reading Series from 1996-2005, and has been on the selection committee and jury for the Gen Art Film Festival. 

Michael Pinckney
is the founder and managing director of Black Noise Media, a full service production house based in NYC. He got his start over 12 years ago under the tutelage of Spike Lee and has over 10 years experience as an assistant director on such films and television series as The 25th Hour, 7th Heaven, The Best Man, Law & Order, Inside Man and Precious, for which he was nominated for a DGA award as part of Lee Daniels' directing team. He worked as AD on commercials for Coco Cola, McDonalds, Nike, Microsoft and Burger King. Pinckney has directed short films, commercials, music videos and PSA’s for Goodwill Industries, The NY GIANTS, Select Media, Youth Communications and Def Jam. He won an award for Excellence in Media from The Black Men’s Film Conference for his HIV film The Candy Store. Recently he made his feature film debut with You’re Nobody til Somebody Kills You, a crime thriller. He started The Black Noise Foundation, the non-profit arm for Black Noise Media, to help nurture aspiring filmmakers. 

Lauren Versel
is a founding member of Lucky Monkey Pictures and has over 25 years of experience in film, television and theater as a writer, director, editor, producer and financier. Her 2013 film, Richard LaGravenese's The Last Five Years, stars Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. In 2012, she executive produced the Golden Globe-nominated Arbitrage, which premiered at Sundance, written and directed by Nicholas Jarecki, starring Richard Gere, Tim Roth, Brit Marling and Susan Sarandon. She also produced Amy Heckerling's Vamps and Red Hour, starring Alicia Silverstone, Sigourney Weaver, Krysten Ritter, Wallace Shawn, Malcolm McDowell and Richard Lewis. City Island, the award-winning film written and directed by Raymond De Felitta and produced by Versel, starred Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Alan Arkin and Emily Mortimer, and was released in 2010.

Tanya Wexler
recently directed the acclaimed Hysteria, a Victorian-era based comedy about the invention of the vibrator. The film had its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival where it sold to Sony Pictures Classics, and was released in Spring 2012 in the U.S., with an international release following in the Fall. Wexler previously directed the feature films Ball In The House, which also premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Finding North. She attended Columbia University where she made two short films: The Dance and Cool Shoes. Her upcoming projects include a film based on the life of Dusty Springfield, starring Nicole Kidman as Dusty, and Woman of the Rock, an action/drama centered on Joan of Arc, for producer Joel Silver.

Moderator Destiny Lilly is the owner of Destiny Casting, a boutique casting company that specializes in short film and video projects. Over her six years in casting, she has cast more than 100 commercials, industrials and branded video projects. She recently cast the short film A Poet Long Ago, written by journalist Pete Hamill and directed by Bob Giraldi. She also has a background in theater and has cast projects for The Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, and The Gallery Players, among others. Other work includes a number of award-winning shorts as well as the upcoming feature The Widowers. She is the Casting Consultant for the Live Action Short Film Program at the School Of Visual Arts and a proud member of New York Women in Film & Television.

Produced by Destiny Lilly and Amanda Prasow

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