Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 17 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Arenivar ...
Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
Ubaldo Arenivar ...
Himself - Angela's Father (as Ubaldo)
Jorge Arenivar ...
Himself - Angela's Brother (as Jorge)
Scott McGarraugh ...
Himself - Ranch Owner (as Mr. McGarraugh)
Lindy McGarraugh ...
Herself - Ranch Owner (as Mrs. McGarraugh)
Concepción Arenivar ...
Herself - Angela's Mother (as Concepción)
Mrs. Slaughter ...
Herself - Angela's Teacher
Neelima Marupudi ...
Herself - Potter County Champion (as Neelima)
Nupur Lala ...
Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
Ms. Whitehurst ...
Herself - Nupur's Teacher
Parag Lala ...
Himself - Nupur's Father (as Parag)
Meena Lala ...
Herself - Nupur's Mother (as Meena)
Kuna Lala ...
Himself - Nupur's Brother (as Kuna)
Ted Brigham ...
Himself - Spelling Bee Participant
Ms. Blair ...
Herself - Ted's Teacher
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Storyline

This documentary follows 8 teens and pre-teens as they work their way toward the finals of the Scripps Howard national spelling bee championship in Washington D.C. All work quite hard and practice daily, first having to win their regional championship before they can move on. Interviews include the parents and teachers who are working with them. The competitors not only work hard to get to the finals but face tremendous pressure as the original group of over 250 competitors is whittled down and the words they must spell get ever more difficult. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Little kids. Big words. American dreams. See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

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Release Date:

27 June 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Agonisma orthografias  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$17,508 (USA) (2 May 2003)

Gross:

$5,728,431 (USA) (5 December 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Spellbound won the Emmy for Cultural/Artistic Programming and Jeffrey Blitz was a nominee for directing. See more »

Goofs

While interviewing Harry in his room the boom mic is deliberately shown after Harry asks "Is that thing edible?" See more »

Quotes

Former Spelling Bee winner: I don't think it really helped me, in my love live; my nascent love life. I think that having won something like that could be regarded as being a significant liability.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no cast list; a cast member is considered credited if a subtitle or an item in the film prints the name (or partial name). See more »

Connections

Featured in The 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
S-T-U-P-E-N-D-O-U-S
25 July 2003 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Jeffrey Blitz, the director of this documentary had the bright idea to show us what goes behind the scenes in this competition that some of us only see as a television news clip when it is shown as the last finalist spells the hard word correctly every year in the spring, or inside a newspaper with the picture of the winner.

I didn't get a chance to see it until recently because I thought it was not going to be any good. Since I was attending a screening with a handicapped relative, and all the other films were sold out, we decided to see this one thinking it was going to be empty. Well, as we arrived early, we had our choice seats and slowly, but surely, people started to come in, to the point that all seats were taken!

This was a delightful inside view of what these teen agers go through in preparing for the competition. The kids are so charming and so alive and so much into the spirit of the contest that the viewer has more sympathy for the parents that sit in the audience. They suffer the most because for the contestants, even though it is a prestigious game, they maintain their cool even in the roughest moments.

In a way it also points out to what degree some immigrant parents, especially the Indians that appear in the documentary are involved in their children's school achievements. Year after year the winner is the son or daughter of someone from either India, Pakistan, or another Eastern country that has settled here because of the opportunities these children will have in the United States.

This documentary should be required viewing in schools throughout the country. Both teachers and students should benefit by watching it.


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