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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

User Rating:
7.7/10   10,429 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:
The Thrill Of The Bee 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
 
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:
Herself - Spelling Bee Participant:In summer I kind of worked around 8 to 9 hours a day, but as school began I just worked about 5 to 6 hours a day.See more »
Movie Connections:
References The Mummy (1999)See more »

FAQ

Recognising the spellers
Chapter Headings, a semi-official version
See more »
26 out of 28 people found the following review useful.
The Thrill Of The Bee, 9 August 2004
Author: Ryan Ellis from Toronto, Canada

NOTE TO SELF: No typos allowed in this review!

I was an excellent speller in school. I thought I was still pretty good now...until the pre-teen dynamos in 'Spellbound' left me in the dust. As 'Bowling For Columbine's chief competition for the 2002 Best Documentary Oscar, this modest gem about 8 contenders for the '99 National Spelling Bee is thrilling. Read that sentence again. A documentary about spelling is thrilling. Wow! How? Is it gripping to see a kid standing in front of a microphone, desperately trying to figure out how to spell words that most of us can't even pronounce? You bet it is. Who needs guns and explosions? THIS is tension.

When one of the girls crumbles and misspells a word, my heart sank. Really, how can you not root for all of these kids? Each entrant in the competition is a super-smart youngster, and it's not cheesy to say they're all winners for having gotten to the National Bee in the first place. Director Jeffrey Blitz can't focus on all of the spellers, so he chooses to highlight 5 girls and 3 boys. We see them at home as they & their families give us the low-down on what makes these brainiacs tick. Then it's off to the Bee, where it's high drama as errors are made and the field is whittled down, one by one.

I was cheering for all of Blitz's star spellers, but Harry Altman was my favourite. He's a hyperactive weirdo and I liked him immediately. Harry is the stand-out oddball in a group of diligent, nerdy types who share the stage. As engaging as he is, it's wonderful that this contest allows for quiet, shy, so-called geeks to be stars. This is the Super Bowl for scholars and it showcases kids from all backgrounds. Plus, there are about as many girls as there are boys. Truly, if you're a great speller, that's good enough.

'Spellbound' is the rare documentary that's more entertaining than it is informative. The kids reveal a great deal about themselves in the interviews, but the film is always building to the climactic moment when one of the last two children makes a mistake and the other wins the crown. You might be surprised by the result, although you shouldn't be. It's almost a 'Hoosiers' moment when the winning speller clinches the title. Every single kid in this movie is a better speller than anybody I know. If they want a job, I could use a proof-reader...even if that proof-reader is a lot smarter than me.

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