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Garden State Film Festival Hosts An Open Talent Casting Call With Donna McKenna

originally published: 02/28/2019

Garden State Film Festival Hosts An Open Talent Casting Call With Donna McKenna

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The 17th Annual Garden State Film Festival will welcome back renowned Casting Director/Producer Donna McKenna, who will be hosting an ‘Open Talent Casting Call’ on Saturday, March 30 from 9:30am-5:00pm at the Jersey Shore Arts Center, 66 South Main Street, Ocean Grove, Forties Room – 2nd Floor. 

Donna is a well respected, award winning, international casting director, producer, and educator. She has cast and produced numerous independent features, short films, television shows, audio shows, pilots and web series with over 20 years of experience behind her. Those who are interested in meeting with Donna can email her in advance at to request an appointment time. She asks that talent come prepared with two photos/headshots, resumes and a 1-2 minute monologue or 16 bars of a song that can be performed acapella. 

Talent will also be able to ask Donna any 3 questions about the business. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear in front of a top-notch industry professional, gain insight and receive valuable feedback is not to be missed.

Also on hand to consult with talent will be several other seasoned industry professionals including: Joey B., ‘Man of Many Voices’– Producer, Singer, & Songwriter - with his 6-octave range and jaw-dropping renditions of artists from Sinatra to Bruno Mars, Joey has performed with Patti Labelle, Chaka Kahn, John Legend, Joss Stone and Bruce Springsteen, just to name a few. Joey will share stories and advice about the business, including its ups and downs, and ways in which to break into the music industry. GSFF’s Publicist /PR Pro Lisa Wartur of NoodleHead Productions & Jam Room Communications will speak about the benefits of having a publicist, pitching to and dealing with the media, traditional vs. new methods for getting publicity in this digital age and more.  Lisa’s early years in the business were spent at Cablevision, MCA Records, CBS Records and Sony Music; and Steven Lance Creative Director & Lead Voice Artist at Jam Room Communications - Steven has been an actor, producer, director and voice artist for many decades, and has appeared in several feature films including Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Stardust Memories. He will be available to advise on the art of voice actinghow to learn more about the craft and ways to pursue a career in the industry as voice talent.

Donna McKenna will keep information about talent she meets with on file, to be considered for a future audition or role, but meeting with her does not guarantee an audition or employment.  One lucky person will receive two – 1-hour SKYPE workshops/ Q&A/ or coaching sessions ($300 value) with Donna, as per her availability. The name will be picked at random at the end of the day. The Casting Call is FREE with the suggested donation of the purchase of a screening block ticket $15 to be used over the GSFF weekend. Enjoy seeing films while waiting to be seen.  

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Donna McKenna has been in the business of casting for over 18 years, bringing her unique skill set to projects around the world. An award winning casting director she has cast independent feature and short films as well as scripted television pilots and award winning web series.  Donna’s films have screened at prestigious festivals such as The Tribeca Film Festival, Festival de Cannes Berlin International Film Festival, Milan Film Festival and numerous Oscar Qualifying Short Film Festivals. 

Garden State Film Festival Hosts An Open Talent Casting Call With Donna McKennaShe was nominated for a 2017 Voice Arts Award for Outstanding Casting for the audio show Powder Burns. Donna, along with the cast, was nominated for and won the Best Performance Audio Show Award. She was also the 2017 IndieFest Film Festival winner for Outstanding Casting for the film Leaves of the Tree, starring Eric Roberts, Sean Young, Federico Castelluccio and Armand Assante, which was filmed in Texas and Sicily. That film also won Donna the Casting Award of Merit at IndieFest in 2015.

Some of her casting & producing credits include: Excuse Me for Living, End, Honor, Oiled Up, Coach of the Year, Night Sweats, Heather, Nicky & Nicky, When the Music Dies, ‘79 Parts, The Networker, West The Fifth Borough, Wholly Broken, Clinton Road and A Cry from Within, thru from various distribution companies some of these films can be seen on Amazon Prime and iTunes. 

When it comes to casting Donna has the ability and expertise to think outside of the box. She has cast a myriad of award winning actors as well as discovering new and rising stars at the very early stages of their careers.  

As a seasoned award-winning producer, Donna is the ultimate team player. She has built a reputation for her successful negotiating skills and is respected for her critical and creative thinking and problem solving. Donna loves actors. 

Donna is a proud member of the Casting Society of America and New York Women in Film & Television. She is an appointed Member of the Board of the Suffolk County Film Commission and she volunteers her time as a jury judge at many renowned film festivals. For a complete list of Donna’s credits, click here.

The Garden State Film Festival runs from March 27 to March 31, 2019 at multiple venues in Asbury Park.

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