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Inside the Casting Process

This past Monday, our Associate Producer/Production Manager, Jessica Wu, and I (Steph here – hi!) met for our first preliminary production meeting in Downtown Toronto.  We mapped out a rough timeline for the next month or so in terms of Casting– when we should get back to people, when auditions should be held, and a hard and fast deadline for deciding the signatory nature of our production.

Before this, Casting Angels (Charlie better back off!) Jennifer Liao and Sandy Kellerman, good friends that I met through Ink Canada and Reel Asian respectively, and super producers in their own right, were kind enough to get us set-up with a preliminary casting breakdown.  The main focus: our film’s three leads.  If you’ve read the logline at all, you know that we have quite a challenge ahead of us in terms of looking for our 10-year-old (Afghani-American) lead.

Could I have made this process easier by writing a different character?  Yes.  Do I really want to make it easier for myself?  No.  This is the character that the story calls for, and I will leave no stone unturned in finding our right cast.  I will not shoot until I find the right cast.  I will not shoot until the cast is ready.  Because if you don’t have a solid cast, you might as well not even start.

The thing about filmmaking is, you have to go in knowing that you’re going to fail.  Filmmaking is a risky business.  You’re never going to make your money back.  I know I will be sinking my savings into this film, and I’m never going to get it back– ever.  But if that’s what I have to do, that’s what I have to do.

The best shot you can give your film, is to mitigate failure by surrounding yourself with people who are smarter and more talented than yourself.  You trust your team to do the job that you hired them for.  You trust the actors that you’ve cast.

So over the next few weeks, we’re going to be auditioning young actresses for the role of 10-year0old Sally Khan.  And we’re going to keep looking until we find her.  She is the heart and soul of this film.  I”m hoping she’s already out there, waiting for us, and maybe… she just doesn’t know it yet.

But first, we have to find an audition space in Downtown Toronto.  Truthfully, I have no idea how long the casting process will take until we find our Sally.  I’m reaching out at the moment to see if we can a space donated, because that would be just the bee’s knees.  So wish us luck & follow our progress here!

And this is an appropriate time as any to shout-out our current “Pay Our Cast & Crew” campaign donors & sponsors!  Thanks to your contributions, we will be able to pay our young lead actress!  Big hug to Sarolta Csete, Nathan Brown, Hope Nicholson, Nathalie Younglai, Imthiyaz Hameed, Sugith Varughese, Sau-Fann Lee, Diane Williamson, Christopher Im, Lindsay M. Stewart, Pat Mills, Shasha Nakhai, Maria-Saroja Ponnambalam, Samantha Shute, Jason Karman, Sau Man Lee, and Sau Kan Lee.

About littlemissjihadfilm

When 10-year-old, Afghani-American, Sally Khan, discovers that the father she never knew disappeared on September 11, 2001, she becomes convinced that he is a terrorist. Now if she could only figure out what that means! LITTLE MISS JIHAD is a dark comedy, yes, comedy, about faith, tolerance, and a child's imagination running away with her.

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