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5 items from 2011

Casting Standout: 'The Help'

21 November 2011 7:00 AM, PST | | See recent Backstage news »

"We had an embarrassment of riches. A lot of people wanted to be a part of this film," says Kerry Barden of casting the adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel "The Help." "There was a lot of momentum on the project, and people who would normally have just taken a meeting with the director were willing to read," adds Paul Schnee, who has been Barden's casting partner since 2008 and whose credits with Barden include "The Visitor," "Pineapple Express," and the upcoming musical "Pitch Perfect." Among those willing to audition was Bryce Dallas Howard, who was cast in the villainous and comedic role of Hilly Holbrook, a racist snob who gets what she deserves. Says Barden, "Bryce came and read, and we were howling with laughter because she was so funny. She was so great. She [set] the bar at that point. You would have to beat her audition to. »

- (Jamie Painter Young)

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Gotham Awards Silent Auction Launches On Charity Buzz

17 November 2011 2:26 PM, PST | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

Ifp has partnered with online auction-house Charity Buzz for their annual Gotham Awards silent auction. Between now and December 7th, you can go here to bid on a variety of film-related items, including one-on-one consultations with industry leaders Ted Hope (Double Hope Films), Sheila Nevins (HBO) and Paul Schnee (Barden / Schnee Casting), as well as a visit to the set of the 3rd season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

Also up for auction are tickets to the world premiere of David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit more indie-centric, you can bid on VIP passes to The NY Times’ upcoming Times Talk Arts & Leisure weekend, or to the Gotham Awards themselves.

All proceeds raised in the auction benefit Ifp, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers. The Gotham Awards take place Monday, November 29. Head over to »

- Dan Schoenbrun

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SXSW announces first round of 2012 film panels

26 October 2011 12:30 PM, PDT | | See recent IFC news »

It's kind of insane that we're about to start talking about next year's South by Southwest and it's still October. Just last week I reposted a video from this year's SXSW! But here we go: today SXSW announced their first round of film programming, a preliminary list of panels you'll be able to check out next March in Austin, Texas. Highlights include a conversation with "Drive" and "Contagion" composer Cliff Martinez, a chat about arts criticism in the age of Twitter, and the return of the legendary "Jeffrey Tambor Acting Workshop." My favorite panel title on the list? "The Evolution of the Douchebag in Modern Cinema." It's sort of hard for douchebags to evolve -- that's kind of what makes them douchebags -- but I think I know what they're getting at.

The full list of announced panels is below. And, hey, it's not too late to submit your feature »

- Matt Singer

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How to Audition the Young (of All Ages)

22 September 2011 7:00 AM, PDT | | See recent Backstage news »

Casting is tricky in any film. There is always a certain gut instinct involved. But with children it becomes even trickier. In casting the two lead children in "Dolphin Tale," I had many preliminary conversations with our casting directors, Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee. Because I've had experience directing child actors and nonactors—and have been an actor for many years myself—we felt the best tactic was to cast a wide net, to audition as many kids as possible, whether they were experienced in film acting or not. For a child actor, a résumé never tells the whole story.I have a few rules. First of all, I feel that a director's job is to be a guide, a collaborator, especially with a child actor. I never sit behind a table or desk at an audition. The goal is to put a child at ease, to make him or her feel comfortable. »

- (Charles Martin Smith)

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Movie Review - Win Win (2011)

25 August 2011 4:02 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Win Win, 2011.

Directed by Thomas McCarthy.

Starring Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Alex Shaffer, Burt Young and Jeffrey Tambor.


A struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) decides to ‘innocently’ relocate an elderly client with dementia, Leo Poplar (Burt ‘Paulie’ Young), into a nursing home to receive his guardian benefit. This duplicitous act comes back to haunt him when the teenage grandson Kyle (Alex Shaffer) of the client he's double-crossed comes into his life.

Let me start with a bold statement - Win Win is charting in my Top 10 Best Films of the Year. This is a well-written and rich story that is filled with phenomenally believable characters, performed spectacularly.

Writer/Director Thomas McCarthy immerses us into modern suburban New Jersey in a dreary financial climate, that contextualises protagonist Mike Flaherty and gives him an ethical choice to make – do I do the ‘right’ thing »

- flickeringmyth

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