A scene from “Human Flow” Ai’s Weiwei’s documentary about the global refugee and migrant crisis.
The Fall season has been filled with climate disaster, political doom here and abroad, cries of terrorism, crazy acts of violence, fears of deportations, and every other day there is a new charge of sexual harassment and strife in Hollywood.
Serious stuff is happening and peoples’ lives and jobs are at stake. I am so proud of the many strong women and men who have come out and shared their stories, written intelligently and passionately, and most importantly started a movement, a movement for change.
November is also a month for the best movies to be trotted out for Academy Award consideration. This is the season for important and impactful films. But imagine a world where we could see stories that matter all year long, a world where superhero, sequels and tentpole films were only a small fraction of what was offered. Imagine a world where thoughtful character-driven stories and documentaries could be found in your local theatre. Imagine such a world that represented us all, a world where gender, language, physical ability and color do not set limitations, but rather reflect characters in complex truths.
If we imagine these scenarios, we can write and produce them for audiences to see and be inspired by. We can use the power of film, to change the narrative that we see in today’s’ headline s and push a political movement for change, equality and justice forwards. With the power of good storytelling and equal representation, 2018 may become a little brighter for us all.
School is almost out and Genie is back for the summer. With the Fall season set and the lineups announced Genie is reporting on what’s casting and who’s who in Hollywood. Don’t forget, every day we will feature your favorite actor’s giving advice and insight in Today’s Take.Take the summer to do your best research and try and build your resume. Summer is also a great time to take a new class, get new headshot and improve your audition technique.
Genie is thrilled to be back in action and ready for her close-up. Log on to see What’s Casting in LA and NYC.
Dear Family, Friends and Fans of Actor Genie,
We launched our App on iTunes in January 2010 at the Sundance Film Festival. Mark Ruffalo, one of Actor Genie’s first supporters and a frequent contributor, premiered his film Sympathy For Delicious and won a Special Jury prize. Genie cast that film, launched the app, and the journey began.
Since our launch on iTunes in 2010, we expanded to Android and have connected with over 65,000 users. We loved connecting with you, and along the way, we made lasting friendships and our small dent, or as Steve Jobs said, a “ding in the universe”, becoming a true voice in Hollywood.
We were the first app on the market of our kind and chosen twice to be featured by Apple on the front of the iTunes App Store. And, even better than that, we cast a few actors who reached out to us through the app. One of those actresses even got to experience Awards season back in 2012 as we cast her in the Oscar-winning film, “The Artist”. The story was featured in this article in The New York Times. Maybe It Should Be Called ‘The Artists’
As Sundance plays to a close this weekend and The SAG Awards are presented on Sunday, Genie will take a bow. We will no longer update ‘What’s Casting’ after February 1st, 2017. But will continue to update “Todays’ Take,” the opening page of the app where we feature people we admire; Actors, Writers, Producers, Directors. We will continue to share inspiration, advice and Genie’s unique perspective daily. We will also maintain our contact base in LA and NY and our users can still register with Genie on our app to get updates through our newsletter.
We know that this is a bummer for many of you during pilot season, but Actor Genie was never meant to be a job listing service. It was meant as an informative app to empower and educate those interested in pursuing a career in the film and television business. Most importantly, the App will continue to be free on iTunes and Google Play and our Actor Genie website will list resources for you to track what’s casting.
Genie is taking a bow with a heavy heart, but you never know, when we might come back for an encore, a revival or a complete reboot. Stay tuned and stay connected through our Actor Genie Website, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, which will continue to be active.
Now that Actor Genie is taking a hiatus (February 1st, 2017) from posting What’s Casting, we still wanted you to have access to the resources available that will help continue to empower you as you continue being a proactive Actor. Here is our list of our favorite resources for Who’s Who and What’s Casting. Our resources will always be updated and available on the right panel of our website.
Resources for What’s Casting
IndieWire asked 13 of the top casting directors to nominate films worthy of casting recognition this year. Heidi Levitt wrote about Asghar Farhadi’s film “The Salesman,” in lieu of global casting, even though “Moonlight,” is close to her heart.
Casting Directors have a strange distinction in the awards world: Their guild has an Academy branch, but it’s the only one without its own Oscar category. Imagine for a moment that they did. What are the best-cast films of 2016?
Here’s why “Moonlight”, “Loving” and more deserve honors, according to 13 of Hollywood’s best casting directors. Best Cast Films of 2016 According to Top Casting Directors.
** Note to our users. We have recently moved away from using Parse as our app server and would love for everyone to re-download Actor Genie again at either the App Store or Google Play Store to get the latest updates!
By: Heidi Levitt
Hollywood, the dream machine, the center of global entertainment and movie culture was built by immigrants like Samuel Goldwyn, from Warsaw and Louis B. Meyer to Minsk.
The history of Hollywood includes films and filmmakers who challenged the status quo, went to jail for defending their free speech and who have made a difference by speaking out. And yet, in 2016 Hollywood cinema, perhaps The United States most important export, the beacon for global cultural exchange is dominated by blockbusters, tent pole, sequel, superhero popcorn movies that are led by a white male presence.
Now is the time more than ever to shift the paradigm and make movies that matter. We need to include voices and faces of those who have been left on the perimeter of our industry.
Last years #OscarsSoWhite seems small in light of this past week’s election results, but it is not small by any means. In fact, now more than ever we need to show the country and the world that we in Hollywood have compassion, empathy and the power to open hearts and minds. We must make certain that those behind and in front of the camera reflect who we are; Black, White, Brown, Yellow and every shade in between.
Recently, the hugely talented actor Jon Leguizamo wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about this subject called “Too Bad You Are Latin.”
In this year’s Oscar season we have already seen an excellent contender in Barry Jenkins film, “Moonlight“ that authentically allowed us into the world we seldom see on the big screen. I hope that Moonlight gets the attention it deserves, because not only is it a powerful film, but it is a film about people who are black, gay and poor. It delivers a sense of hope through humanity. Donald Trump and his supporters could take a few lessons from watching a film like this one that opens your heart and leaves you feeling breathless and transformed.
For example, if we only tell the story of Mexicans crossing the border without papers, then that story becomes the story of the undocumented and we fail to see and know the individual. Through great storytelling and the power of global cinema, we can break racial and ethnic prejudice by allowing us to see the person, the character and not merely the color of their skin nor the accent in their voice. These kinds of stories will enable us to see how much we share in common as the human experience is not defined as much by color and language, as it is by the universality of the shared experiences of mothers daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, and sons.
2017 is the year for Hollywood to focus on producing films that reflect the true population and not the Electoral College. 2017 is the year to push the envelope not only in America but also around the world where the refugees and the disenfranchised are fighting for freedom and a better life. Let us show President Trump and the rest of the world that making films and television reflect who we are.
To the 11,000,000 undocumented, the refugees, the exiled living in poverty, the minorities, women and anyone else who feels marginalized – Hollywood can help make America great again because in less than 15 years from now the American population will be more brown than white. I hope and pray that inclusion and diversity in our voices and numbers will translate into a society that is accepting and empowered. Hollywood can and must do their part to change the culture.
Los Angeles Protest, November 12, 2016 @Chessdesign