French Casting Directors Élodie Demey, Marie-France Michel and Justine Léocadie are the first to receive the international prize for casting under its new moniker.
(Barcelona) French casting director Élodie Demey, along with co-casting directors Marie-France Michel and Justine Léocadie, will be the first to take home a newly-minted figurine in honor of their work on the 2019 feature Hors Normes (The Specials), directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano.
The International Casting Directors Network (ICDN) established the first-ever international prize for best casting of a feature film in 2016, in order to spotlight the essential role and extraordinary achievements of casting directors in the filmmaking process. Since then, the award has been presented at Locarno Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, and this year in Barcelona, at the Sitges Fantastic Film Festival of Catalunya.
This year, the award also received a new polish, in the form of an official statuette and new award name: the Semiramis Award for Best Casting.
Semiramis was a legendary Assyrian queen who ruled with wisdom, strength and steadiness. The statuette is an original work by Swiss sculptor Peter Hartmann, whose bronzes are exhibited throughout Geneva in parks and public places.
Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Semiramis Award programme was conducted virtually through the Sitges Industry Hub Online on Friday, October 16th. Spanish actress Melina Matthews presented the honors at a ceremony hosted by Barcelona-based ICDN member Luci Lenox.
“The casting of Hors Normes is truly an example of what we fellow casting directors recognise as a brilliant job: the combination of major stars at the top of their game, combined with new talent and real authenticity,” said Lenox.
“It is a great honour for me to receive this award for which I thank the ICDN and the jury,” said Demey. “Casting this important and brilliantly directed film has been a truly enriching and interesting experience for me. I would like to share this award with both of my co-casting directors, Justine Léocadie and Marie-France Michel. Together, we have worked to form a strong group made of famous actors, newcomers, and non-actors, all of which give life to this poignant and moving film with great talent.”
Casting directors are still the sole department heads credited in the main titles of a film who receive no acknowledgment at most of the world’s top award shows (such as the Oscars or David di Donatello Awards), which is what originally prompted ICDN to establish its own casting award.
Since then, however, casting directors saw one of their own elected to the head of the Academy of Motion Pictures–sparking hope for a future Oscar–followed by the creation of a prestigious new Best Casting Award at the BAFTAs. With the renowned and steadfast Semiramis now at the helm, a sea change in their campaign for recognition appears to be finally underway.
NOMINEES FOR ICDN’S 2020 SEMIRAMIS AWARD FOR BEST CASTING
(Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2019)
HORS NORMES (WINNER)
The Award Ceremony can be viewed here:
ICDN is a professional association bringing together casting directors from over 25 different countries to network, connect, share information, and help raise the profile of the casting profession.
Established in 1968, Sitges, the International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, is the number one fantasy film festival in the world. For more information, please visit sitgesfilmfestival.com.