Cast­ing agency com­edy to cast a spell

‘Edgy and flashy’ movie sub­mit­ted to film fes­ti­vals

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODFUN - WENDYL MARTIN

AN INDEPENDENT film star­ring Paul Sn­od­grass, set in the world of cast­ing agen­cies and film­mak­ers, is the prod­uct of a pro­duc­tion com­pany choos­ing to take dis­tri­bu­tion into their own hands.

Cape Town pro­duc­tion firm Chas­ing Mi­gada has wrapped Cast­ing Me, an “edgy and flashy” blackand-white com­edy loosely based on the ex­pe­ri­ences of one of its cre­ators, Quin­ton Lav­ery.

The Good Week­end vis­ited Lav­ery at the cast­ing agency where he works with his busi­ness part­ner and cin­e­matog­ra­pher Dar­ren Wertheim. The sur­real go­ings-on at the Wood­stock agency ap­peared to be ma­te­rial enough for a film about a cast­ing agency worker try­ing to make a film and win back the love of his life.

And, with sim­i­lar­i­ties to raunchy come­dies such as The 40-Year-old Vir­gin and Amer­i­can Pie, the pro­duc­tion com­pany is con­sid­er­ing dis­tribut­ing the film to cam­puses over­seas.

“We are look­ing at in­ter­na­tional dis­tri­bu­tion, not specif­i­cally South African. The film is not a specif­i­cally South African film and can be set any­where. It’s just a com­edy,” says Lav­ery.

Cape Town is never men­tioned and South African jokes are few. The char­ac­ters speak with South African ac­cents but there are no “ja’s”. Un­for­tu­nately, a men­tion of the word “siff ” could not be deleted.

“Come­dies out­side South Africa don’t re­ally work. How­ever, come­dies like The Of­fice ap­pear in many coun­tries in the same set­ting.”

He ex­plains that they are look­ing at dis­tri­bu­tion op­tions such as video on de­mand.

“Cinema would be great, but it is not the big­gest thing,” he says.

They have a dif­fer­ent plan for South African dis­tri­bu­tion.

“In South Africa we want to have fun with it, tak­ing it to film schools.”

Chas­ing Mi­gada is sub­mit­ting the film to film fes­ti­vals in­clud­ing Sun­dance, Glas­gow, Mi­ami, Rot­ter­dam, the Cape Wine, Dur­ban and Ber­muda.

A key part of the film’s pro­duc­tion is the cast­ing of Sn­od­grass in the role of Paul, the cast­ing agency worker.

Sn­od­grass at­tended the cast­ing in a Speedo at the agency at which Lav­ery works. It was here that Lav­ery re­alised he and Sn­od­grass were quite sim­i­lar.

They are now so com­fort­able with each other in pub­lic that Sn­od­grass has taken to jok­ingly dry­hump­ing Lav­ery when they see each other.

Wertheim says: “Ev­ery­one trusted ev­ery­one. There were no fights on set and no ar­gu­ments. Ev­ery­one con­trib­uted.”

The film­mak­ers say some of the gags in the film were made up by the cast on set.

“I think I am a good writer. This needed some im­promptu work to make sure it was funny. If we laughed. It worked,” says Lav­ery.

Wertheim says the shots were planned to the Nth de­gree and filmed with two hand-held cam­eras.

The film is not short of win­cein­duc­ing comedic mo­ments.

“We wanted to push the en­ve­lope, take it past a cer­tain point and then take it fur­ther,” says Lav­ery.

“We are equal op­por­tu­nity of­fen­sive,” says Wertheim.

In­ter­est­ingly, Lav­ery says his grand­fa­ther asked for a copy of the DVD to show to women in a frail care cen­tre.

For up­dates on Cast­ing Me fol­low @chas­ing­mi­gada on Twit­ter. Twit­ter @Wendyl­martin

AL­WAYS ON CALL: In-be­tween takes Paul Sn­od­grass re­laxed with his smart­phone… and who knows what else.

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