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Spellbound
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Spellbound (2002) More at IMDbPro »

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

Overview

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7.7/10   10,460 votes »
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View company contact information for Spellbound on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 October 2003 (UK) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
EVERYONE WANTS THE LAST WORD See more »
Plot:
Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 19 wins & 9 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(78 articles)
Two Boys Declared Co-Champions of Spelling Bee
 (From PEOPLE.com. 29 May 2014, 8:00 PM, PDT)

The Doc Option: Watch ‘Spellbound’ Instead of ‘Bad Words’
 (From FilmSchoolRejects. 22 March 2014, 7:00 AM, PDT)

Paul Feig Tunes Up A Musical
 (From EmpireOnline. 16 March 2014, 9:25 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Fact More Compelling than Fiction See more (103 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
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 - Tes's Teacher
Dan Brigham ... Himself - Ted's Brother
Tim Brigham ... Himself - Ted's Brother (as Tim)
Earl Brigham ... Himself - Ted's Father (as Earl)
Dorothy Brigham ... Herself - Ted's Mother (as Dorothy)
Emily Stagg ... Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
David Stagg ... Himself - Emily's Father (as David)
Suzanne Stagg ... Herself - Emily's Mother (as Suzanne)
Ashley White ... Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
Angela White ... Herself - Ashley's Mother (as Angela)
Ms. Williams ... Herself - Ashley's Teacher
Sigourney White ... Herself - Ashley's Sister (as Sigourney)
Neil Kadakia ... Himself - Spelling Bee Participant
Rajesh Kadakia ... Himself - Neil's Father (as Rajesh)
Darshana Kadakia ... Herself - Neil's Mother (as Darshana)
Shivani Kadakia ... Herself - Neil's Sidter (as Shivani)
Samye Hill ... Herself - Neil's Spelling Coach
April DeGideo ... Herself - Spelling Bee Participant
Al DeGideo ... Himself - April's Father (as Al)
Gale DeGideo ... Herself - April's Mother (as Gale)
Mr. Miller ... Himself - April's Teacher
Harry Altman ... Himself - Spelling Bee Participant
Fay Sharit ... Herself - Harry's Mother (as Fay)
Paige Kimble ... Herself - National Spelling Bee Director and 1981 National Champion
Alex Cameron ... Himself - National Spelling Bee Pronouncer
Mona Goldstein ... Herself - Mother of Last Year's 4th Place Speller
Frank Neuhauser ... Himself - 1925 National Champion
Jonathan Knisely ... Himself - 1971 National Champion
Balu Natarajan ... Himself - 1985 National Champion
Janaky Natarajan ... Herself - Balu's Mother
George Thampy ... Himself - Spelling Bee Participant
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vinay Krupadev ... Boy Who Says Yenta
Jacques Bailly ... Himself (uncredited)
William Dolan ... Himself (uncredited)
Katie Kerwin McCrimmon ... Herself (uncredited)

Directed by
Jeffrey Blitz 
 
Produced by
Jeffrey Blitz .... producer
Ronnie Eisen .... additional producer
Sean Welch .... producer
 
Original Music by
Daniel Hulsizer 
 
Film Editing by
Yana Gorskaya 
 
Art Department
Adam Byrne .... graphics designer
Yana Gorskaya .... graphics designer
Nancy Lowry .... set dresser (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Greg Brazel .... additional sound recordist: Washington D.C.
Peter Brown .... sound re-recording mixer
Joe Dzuban .... sound effects editor
Sean Welch .... sound recordist
Peter Brown .... supervising sound editor (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Jeffrey Blitz .... camera operator
Greg Brazel .... additional camera: Washington DC
Mac Carter .... additional camera: Washington DC
David Gruenberg .... additional camera: Washington DC
Rob Lyall .... additional camera: Washington DC
Sheila Smith .... additional camera: Washington DC (as Shiela Smith)
 
Editorial Department
Chris Perkel .... editorial support
Mark Reaser .... audio layback
 
Other crew
Andy Blitz .... funding provided by
Erin Heidenreich .... sales agent
Sally Steele .... publicist
Winston Emano .... publicist (uncredited)
David Magdael .... publicist (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Kate Amend .... special thanks
Jacques Bailly .... special thanks
Diane West Blitz .... special thanks
Alex Cameron .... special thanks (as Alex J. Cameron)
Mac Carter .... special thanks
Melissa Simon Disharoon .... special thanks (as Melissa Disharoon)
Michael Donaldson .... special thanks
Breck Eisner .... special thanks
Arturo Everitt .... special thanks
Bradley Feldman .... special thanks
Hugh Flick .... special thanks
Ed Gildred .... special thanks
David Gruenberg .... special thanks
Mark J. Harris .... special thanks
Adrian Herrera .... special thanks
Claire Husted .... special thanks
Martin Hynes .... special thanks
Paige Kimble .... special thanks (as Paige P. Kimble)
Jonathan Knisely .... special thanks (as Jonathan Knisley)
Eve Lindeman .... special thanks
Linda Loeffler .... special thanks
Greg McCambridge .... special thanks
Frank Neuhauser .... special thanks
Jean-Michel Richaud .... special thanks
Maia Rossini .... special thanks
Harvard L. Weiss .... special thanks
Chad Wilson .... special thanks
Robyn Wilson .... special thanks
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
97 min | Canada:95 min (Toronto International Film Festival)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Goofs:
Boom mic visible: 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 »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

Recognising the spellers
Chapter Headings, a semi-official version
See more »
24 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
Fact More Compelling than Fiction, 13 March 2004
Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States

If you need proof that fact is indeed more compelling than fiction, look no further than `Spellbound,' a fascinating and aptly named documentary centered on that great American competition for brainiacs known as the National Spelling Bee.

In designing his film, director Jeffrey Blitz has chosen to focus on eight competitors from widely varying racial, geographical and socioeconomic backgrounds, interviewing them and their families before, during and after the competition. In the first half of the film he introduces us to each of the contestants, giving us behind-the-scenes glimpses into their home lives, their study techniques, their aspirations and their attitudes towards competition and the value of dedication and hard work. The common denominators these eight individuals all share are intelligence, drive, determination and a supportive family structure. Even though the pressure of the experience seems almost too much for any youngster to bear, all of these participants come across as levelheaded, sensible individuals who manage to keep it all in a healthy perspective. The parents, too, seem reasonable in their expectations, encouraging their children without placing undue pressure on them – and beaming with justifiable pride at their amazing progeny. Yet, for all their seeming `nerdness' and gift for articulation, Blitz makes it clear that these kids are really just kids (albeit highly gifted ones) after all.

In the second half of the film, we move to the competition itself, watching as all except one of the people we have come to know over the course of the film eventually become eliminated (Blitz had the grand good fortune of choosing the eventual winner as one of his subjects). The scenes at the competition itself provide more edge-of-the-seat suspense than a truckload of fictional Hollywood thrillers. You'll find your mind and heart racing as each child endeavors to spell out the arcane, tongue-tying words chosen by the officials for the competition. Throughout the proceedings, the audience is on as much of an emotional roller coaster as the participants and their families. As a filmmaker, Blitz knows that the human face is really a map revealing what is taking place inside our hearts and minds and this he captures with uncanny precision as the children sweat, tear up, furrow their brows and even in some cases act out their thought processes in humorously absurd muggery while formulating their answers.

`Spellbound' succeeds in its twofold purpose: to honor that commitment to competition that has defined what it means to be an American and to demonstrate that achieving in a competitive field using one's mind can be just as exciting and rewarding as achieving one's greatness on a court, field or gridiron. That's a message all too rarely conveyed by American culture.

Watching this film, you will indeed be spellbound.

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