Excellence in Casting: Film Independent Spirit Awards

The Business

New York

Excellence in Casting: Film Independent Spirit Awards

Lois Drabkin, Liz Ortiz Mackes, Paul Schnee

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Begins at 7:00 PM EST
Check-in begins at: 6:15 PM EST

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are a celebration of the year’s most compelling independent productions. The originality and creative vision of the casting director has given us memorable personages in a variety of diverse films. It is this ingenuity that has led to such a stunning year in indie filmmaking. Please join us for an evening with casting directors whose projects have been nominated. Come hear how they are diversifying the casting process in America, what inspires them, where they find talent and more.



Lois Drabkin (Glass Chin)
Lois Drabkin is a New York-based casting director who has cast a wide range of independent features, including Night Catches Us, The Missing Person, and the upcoming thriller Imperium, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Toni Collette. Lois has also worked extensively as an Associate Casting Director, on projects including: War of the Worlds, Salt,Public Enemies, and the acclaimed HBO series, The Wire. She has been nominated by the Casting Society of America for an Artios Award for Outstanding Achievement in Casting for the features The Missing Person and Night Catches Us, and the short film Gunny. As an independent producer, her feature credits include The Missing Person, Weakness and Glass Chin

Liz Ortiz Mackes (Advantageous)
Liz Ortiz-Mackes is the owner of I Ain't Playin' Films and Casting Solutions. Independent Film Producer and Casting Director credited on projects which have screened at hundreds of film festivals worldwide including: Sundance, Toronto, BAM Cinemafest, HBO Latino, Urban World, Slam Dance, among others, and have aired on HBO, Showtime, and Netflix. She is the author of Ace Your Acting Audition published by S.O.M.E Productions and currently directing a feature length documentary. Adjunct Professor, NYU School of Professional Studies and Member New York Women in Film and Television. @LizOrtizMackes and @IAintPlayinFilm on Twitter, www.IAintPlayinFilms.com

Paul Schnee (SpotlightLove and Mercy)
Paul Schnee is originally from Wilmington, Delaware and is a graduate of Kenyon College. After graduating, Paul worked in the film business for legendary agent Sam Cohn, then as assistant to director Mike Nichols. He then veered into the publishing world, and held editorial jobs at Alfred A. Knopf, Simon and Schuster and Brill’s Content magazine. He and Kerry formed Barden / Schnee Casting in 2008. In addition to casting for film, Paul directs theatre in New York, most recently Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour and After the Fall by Arthur Mille, for the Atlantic Theatre Company/Tisch School of the Arts and the world premiere of Napoleon in Exile by Daniel Reitz at 59E59 Theatres. Paul lives in Brooklyn NY with his wife and daughters. 


Lori Hammel
Lori Hammel is a NYC-based actress and writer who has performed on Broadway and Off Broadway and has toured around the world. On stage in 2015 Lori portrayed Ethel Mertz on the national tour of I Love Lucy Live and played multiple characters in Gary Apple’s Hell is for Real for which she was given an Excellence in Acting Award at the NY International Fringe Festival. 

Film work includes playing a morning show host in the Coen brother's feature Burn After Reading; An Invisible Sign; She's Lost Control (2014 Berlin Film Festival, SXSW) and playing the lead in Coney Island Queen (2014 Cannes Shorts Corner).  TV includes The Following, 30 Rock, and The Colbert Report.  As an improviser, Lori played recurring political pundit Leslie Hillerman on the Onion News Network series, In The Know and Broadway reporter Margo Rose Ferderer for NY2.

She is the 2014 recipient of the SAG-AFTRA Joseph C. Riley Service Award.  Lori is co-author of Minding the Edge – Strategies for a Fulfilling, Successful Career as an Actor (2012 Waveland Press) and a contributing writer for Acting for the Stage (2017 Focal Press).  www.lorihammel.com