America Young: Casting Kelly

By America Young

America Young at the Dallas International Film Festival 2012

Filmmaker America Young

Last year I was lucky enough go to DIFF for my film GIRLS!GIRLS!GIRLS! There were a number of amazing filmmakers involved in this project so I was thrilled to be able to represent the film. 

It’s always fun when a familiar saying or cliché comes true. When one door closes, another one opens. I had a place to stay the first night I was in Dallas before I was in the hotel that the festival provided. As I was getting the on the plane, the people I was staying with asked me to not stay with them as their two children were very sick and they felt bad that company would be staying there.  Door slammed shut. So I Googled the festival, found a hotel that was close to it and booked a room. I sent the info the Cindy Eichenholz, hoping it wouldn’t be inconvenient for her and boarded the plane.

When I arrived Cindy and her husband, Phil, were waiting for me at the Dallas airport. After an attempt to be diplomatic about the location of my hotel, she just said “I just can’t take you there. It’s not safe. You’re staying with us.” Door Opened. I had no problem with this plan so I stayed at their house that night and the last night I was in Dallas.

I really hit it off with the Eichenholz’s. They made me laugh a lot and I felt instantly comfortable with them. When they showed up at my screening, I felt as proud as if my own family had been there.

But perhaps one of the most impressive Eichenholz’s is Kelly. She has an undeniable passion for acting but is also one of the most grounded and sensible people I have met. I wish I were that put together at that age. I know a number of people who wish they were that put together in their 40’s. We had a wonderful time visiting one on one. So I was thrilled that there was a role that could be right her in my feature, that she was in town when we were auditioning and that she also happened to be a fabulous actor.

Just from speaking with her, I knew she was a perfect “Heather”. It was really fun to see how the audience responded to her on the live stream. We had some wonderful people auditioning for the role but the live stream audience had no question in their minds. They had fallen in love with Kelly and, I do believe, would have revolted if we didn’t cast her. The rest of the crew and cast felt the same way.  I had known all along so I was thrilled that everyone agreed.

With my film Girls!Girls!Girls!, we really made the film festival circuit. We were honored to play at a number of festivals and even had requests encore screenings at a few. Having run a few film festivals myself, I really appreciated how well run DIFF was. However, the most remarkable thing about the festival is that every single person involved was a true film lover and supporter.  Everyone I spoke to had not only heard of my film but knew when it was screening and helped me promote it to get people in the seats. A perfect example of this was one of the drivers, Linda Weinberg, who helped drive me to various places for me to pass out my postcards to promote my screenings. I also left a stack of stickers in the car and she passed them out to everyone she drove. I was blown away by the warming welcoming people, superior quality of the films and the classy events. A perfect storm of a film festival which is hard to find. I was so incredibly proud to be asked to be part of DIFF and will continue to be a fan of this festival.

The new film is a comedy called THE CONCESSIONAIRES MUST DIE! On the brink of their beloved single screen independent movie theater being shut down forever, a misfit band of geeky theater workers face the evils of corporate theaters, foreclosure and even scarier, having to decide what they want to be when and if they ever grow up.

The thing that makes this movie different is how we are making it. We are live streaming the ENTIRE behind the scenes process of making a movie. From casting (you can see Kelly’s audition online) to DP meetings to location scouts to actual production.  We will be interacting with the audience every step of the way and are open to questions and suggestions as we move along the process. We are slated tentatively to shoot in Spring 2013 but already have had over a million people tune in to cheer us on.  So check out our blog, and keep posted on our progress. We’ll make sure to let Dallas know when they can see Kelly working her magic as Heather on the live stream as well as the big screen!  (




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