Mandy Casting Director Awards 2020

Mandy Casting Directors Awards 2020


Welcome to the Mandy Casting Director Awards 2020! For this award, Mandy members nominated inspirational casting directors who helped them in their acting careers and who they believed deserved an award that recognises their hard work. This was a chance to spread much-needed positivity and nominate Casting Directors who have been going above and beyond to help actors during these uncertain time. Check out the winners and runners up below!

UK Casting Director of the Year - Sophie Holland!

Congratulations to Sophie Holland! She offered a tremendous amount of support for actors in 2020, and here are just a few of the reasons why Mandy members voted her as the UK Casting Director of the Year:

"Sophie Holland and her team are some of the most open and genuine people in the industry. Sophie works to remove the barriers actors face in the casting process; holding free general meetings on the We Audition platform, making her office casting email public so that non-represented actors have equal opportunity and more."

"As the driving force behind #CastingCrushesCorona, she has given 100s of actors the opportunity of a general 1-on-1 and additionally recruited a range of other casting directors to do the same. What could have been a very bleak lockdown without a single casting turned into a bit of an adventure."

"For her work this year under #CastingCrushesCorona, Sophie supported the mental health of thousands of actors and reached out to underrepresented groups so they are better connected at the end of all this. She kept the flame alive and jointly kept skills, connections and hope up."

As for the winner's reaction, check out Sophie's acceptance speech:

"First and foremost, THANK YOU for this award. This means so much for many reasons. Firstly, because it’s 2020 which has thrown up so many challenges to us all and secondly because it’s voted for by the people we adore, which is to say - Actors! This makes it all the more special. NONE of what I do could be possible without my brilliant team, Faye and Frankie, who are like my second family and most especially Faye who is the genius behind the 1-2-1s we ran throughout Lockdown. This one’s for you, girls!"

Check out the UK Runners Up

Kharmel Cochrane

Here are some of the reasons why Mandy Actors nominated Kharmel:

"Kharmel Cochrane is honest, open, determined to bring diversity to her projects and you feel as though she is absolutely behind you. She is generous with her time and will work tirelessly to bring unknown actors into the spotlight. She's amazing."

"She has done everything she can to represent diversity in her work."

Emma Crompton

Here are some of the reasons why Mandy Actors nominated Emma:

"Emma created the casting feed where us actors could book a one to one with her and ask anything we wanted. She's caring, supportive and always happy to give honest constructive feedbacks."

"She has really made every effort to connect with actors during this difficult time with her courses and webinars online."

Sydney Aldridge

Here are some of the reasons why Mandy Actors nominated Sydney:

"She’s a wonderful CD, who prides herself on working with companies that pay actors at least NMW. Her work during lockdown with The Show Must Go Online was nothing short of perfection and I’m amazed what a brilliant job she did, week on week!"

"True and practical commitment to diversity and inclusivity and going the extra mile to find actors and cast them in accordance to these principles."

USA Casting Director of the Year - Ellen Jacoby!

We would like to extend a huge congratulations to Ellen Jacoby! Ellen's inspiring and caring nature has propelled her to be the USA's Casting Director of the Year, and here is what Mandy members had to say about her:

"Ellen is the embodiment of the word ‘inspiration’. I attend an advanced acting class she runs and her students hang on her every word. She imports such pearls of wisdom and sees the potential in us all. Her nurturing and encouraging skills, as well as her constructive criticism, are much-needed. She has instilled confidence and self-belief in each and every one of us."

"Ellen genuinely cares about each student and helps mold us into ‘artists’. She has given me the confidence to leave every audition knowing I did my absolute best and that the rest is out of my control. Ellen is the most inspirational & motivational mentor I have ever known. I am truly grateful for her time and devotion in helping me become a better actor who is prepared to achieve her dreams."

"To know Ellen is to love her. She is the most caring person and will do anything to help you succeed. She also teaches and mentors acting classes and she molds what appears to be no-talent, into talent extraordinaire."

You can have a read of what Ellen had to say about her big win here:

"It is an honor to receive the 2020 Casting Director of the Year Award from The Mandy Network. I have cast for over 30 years now! I have won awards before too! Yet this is truly an amazing award! I won for the whole USA!!! I am blushing. . . not really! I am smiling. . .really! I want to thank everyone for helping me achieve this award! In these very difficult times, it is hard to stay positive and not give up. However, we must stay positive and move forward. Now, with so many virtual options, you can keep practising with other actors. . . actors that have the same dreams and desires! Networking around the world is great! Mandy has helped so many actors find work, and they still are! If there is a project filming somewhere, Mandy knows about it and you can still find opportunities around the world on their platform. Please stay safe and positive and continue to follow your dreams…and smile."

Check out the USA Runners Up

Renee Garcia

Here are some of the reasons why Mandy Actors nominated Renee:

"She really cares about us actors. She had me in to audition for a film. I didn't get the part but I am grateful for the experience I had in the audition room with her."

Angelique Midthunder

Here are some of the reasons why Mandy Actors nominated Angelique:

"Angelique is truly a champion of actors. She is never cruel and always understanding even when she shouldn't be. Angelique helps the community in ways beyond her casting, including helping underrepresented populations get exposed to making movies. She gives us local actors a real chance, she has a belief in the local community and helps us all raise the bar."

Donna McKenna

Here are some of the reasons why Mandy Actors nominated Donna:

"Donna McKenna is an award-winning, international casting director, producer and educator as listed in her professional bio, but the 20+ years of distinctive business acumen and generous spirit with which she approaches all casting sessions is the proverbial 'takeaway' for me. Donna understands actors and 'gets' the creative process. She can easily navigate through the intellectual fodder and hesitations during a read. Donna brings the best out of a take. Her ear for cadence and nuance in voice-over casting is unmatched and only equaled by her sense of human symmetry and character pairings on-screen."

Canadian Casting Director of the Year - Steven Mann!

A huge congratulations are in order to Steven Mann! He has helped the acting community in Toronto immeasurably during lockdown and has been a constant support for professionals, and this is why Mandy members voted him as the Canadian Casting Director of the Year:

"Steven started webinars during the pandemic to reach out to actors and teach them how to audition better. He brought the community together. Him and his team have gone above and beyond what a casting director has done in Toronto. They have released a lot of great tips and suggestions on how to perfect your self tape, and are very supportive of everyone they see."

"He supports a lot of BIPOC talent and is very generous to bringing in new talent so they can develop ’in the room’ skills. He hosted a wonderful COVID film festival and always gets a lot of support from the Toronto community!!"

"Steven has been great during COVID. He sets up lots of inspiring and informative Zoom meetings, ensuring everyone is safe, by auditioning online rather than in-person. The Zoom meetings with various players in the Toronto film community have been very useful and have kept me in the creative mood."

Steven has shared with us a few words on his incredible 2020 win:

"We, as a team, appreciate the kindness."

Check out the Canadian Runners Up

Larissa Mair

Here are some of the reasons why Mandy Actors nominated Larissa:

"Larissa and her team are wonderful! They are always kind and never too busy to reply to a personal email. Even though I don’t book with them all the time, they keep giving me the chance to audition time and time again. I appreciate Larissa and her team so much!"

"I can't believe the amount of live (virtual) events Larissa Mair attended or put together, every time imparting as much insight and inspiration to actors as possible, during our lockdowns earlier this year. You can tell she has a heart for actors and wants to see us succeed, and it was very heartening to see during such disheartening and scary times."

Jesse Griffiths

Here are some of the reasons why Mandy Actors nominated Jesse:

"Jesse has been very active in helping the BIPOC, LGBT, and disabled communities with his workshops and talks he's hosted regarding issues actors in these groups face, as well as helping these actors by providing them with feedback and aid. He pushes productions to think outside of the narrow box, and takes great efforts to find actors that are actually in the group that the character is."

"He took action towards understanding and implementing anti-racism structural changes in how he conducted business. Started Do Better workshops, in which he asked BIPOC actors to come have a discussion with him, ask him questions about the casting process with no consequences or repercussions, and have a frank and open discussion about barriers that non-white gatekeepers in the industry are not able to see. Such as how breakdowns can be the starting point of the racist stereotypes that get perpetuated throughout the industry, and how phrasing can be interpreted into the lack of respect and dignity shown to BIPOC performers."

Gloria Mann

Here are some of the reasons why Mandy Actors nominated Gloria:

"Gloria Mann worked hard this year to keep the industry moving, to keep us acting. Live auditions were necessary for some directors, and she was one of the brave and innovative CDs who created a safe space that. At the same time she was one of the Toronto casting directors -- they should all be nominated! -- who were there for us online. We could meet, hear what was happening, ask questions, laugh. It kept up our spirits. Gloria is gracious, kind, tough, and smart. If anyone deserves this, it is she."

"A Pioneer in the Industry, and a Women dedicated to her craft for over 50 years."

Previous Winners:

Sue Odell (UK-2019), Gary Armstrong (USA-2019), Peter Hunt (2018), Ben Cogan (2016), Emily Tilelli Casting (2015), Des Hamilton Casting (2014) and Manuel Puro (2013). 

Mandy Casting Director Awards