• Run time: 120 minutes

How to watch

This event is free to attend, please register via link below to book your place.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

18:00 - 20:00

Booking Window


Part of


Join film festival AMPLIFY! and casting platform Backstage in conversation with casting directors Jessica Straker and Sophie Kingston Smith. We will be diving into different approaches to casting, casting regionally and workshopping talent to create the best performance.

Jessica Straker is a UK casting director, writer, and script researcher. Starting her career as an associate on Sarah Gavron's Rocks, she went on to help cast upcoming anthology series Small Axe. She is currently working on a TV series for Duck Soup Films, co-writing a TV pilot in development with CBBC, and she co-founded BRIDGE, a collective focused on providing sustained aftercare and transitional support into the industry for emerging talent from underrepresented communities.

Sophie Kingston Smith started casting featured roles as assistant to Gabrielle Dawes in 2015, working for the Chichester Festival Theatre, before moving into commercials casting with Thomas Adams and finding her way into film and television, with casting directors Lucinda Syson, Karen Lindsey-Stewart & Kharmel Cochrane. She spent much of the last four years working as Associate to Rose Wicksteed, whilst also pursuing her own projects, and was also Associate to Alex Johnson on ITV's period drama Beecham House. As Rose's Associate, Sophie's most notable projects included TV series Genius: Picasso (National Geographic), comedy series The Great (Hulu), and UK casting for Homeland series 8. Films include The Nun and Escape Room. She is also UK Co-Casting Director on upcoming Fox miniseries The Dropout, and she and Rose are currently co-casting original Apple series Ray James. She was also Casting Director on short films Lynch (dir. Francesca Castelbuono) and Mr Whippy (dir. Rachna Suri), and upcoming shorts Harry the Hamster (dir. Lewis Reeves) and Edicius (dir. Uzo Oleh).

This conversation will be bought to you by casting platform Backstage and hosted by their UK Casting Specialist & UK Casting Director, Hannah Marie Williams.