Producers to Watch: Rodrigo Bellott, More than a Producer

by Sydney Levine
July 6, 2010 3:59 AM
1 Comment
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Rodrigo Bellott first came to our attention in 2003 when producer Ara Katz, retained our services to create the best strategy for finding international and domestic distribution for Rodrigo's debut feature Sexual Dependency, a La Ronde type film which begain in a small town in his native Bolivia to New York City. Since then, Rigo has produced and or directed 4 features. When Steven Soderbergh was casting Che, he came to Rodrigo for help and afterward encouraged him to create a casting company which has served the industry very well as the first such company in Bolivia if not in all of Latin America. However, that has not kept him from creating his own projects and in September he will reside 6 months in Amsterdam where he will be developing his next project as a fellow of The Binger Institute.

He is coming to L.A. next week for the Outfest's DGA screening of Contracorriente (Undertow) which he cast.

Here is Rodrigo's statement about his company dc4c, Director Casting For Directors.
John Frankenheimer said, “Casting is 65 percent of directing.”

My films take from two to three years in the making and I love filmmaking so Casting allows me to do three to five films a year. My goal is to be fortunate enough to continue to do what I love most with amazing filmmakers, talent and actors. I have the best job in the world.

The Company
In 2009, the debate either to focus on my work as a director or continue casting ended in an idea that turned both options into a single path that would bring the best of both my passions and talents: A Casting Company that would focus on challenging multinational Co-Productions that would bring together talent from Latin America, Spain and the U.S.
Director Casting for Directors would be my chance to provide casting services outside the box, the industry and the system for intelligent, challenging and revolutionary films by established directors as well as visionary new filmmakers.

The Story
I started casting my own films because in my country there were NO Casting Directors, talent agencies, managers or even acting schools. I cast people from the streets and from pretty much everywhere because there was no other way. I believe in people and for some odd reason I know how to use their traits, their flaws and virtues into the films advantage (I guess this is my talent). I have only directed small independent feature films in my country and one day I found myself casting a multi-million dollar film by one of the most admired directors in the world. The rest is history….the story.

It was at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival premiere of Che after a 10 minute standing Ovation, when I felt more pride and satisfaction than in any of my own films after hearing somebody say: “Where do these faces and people come from?”. Then I understood Steven Soderbergh’s words: You will have a career after this but don’t forget you are above all, a film director.

I have been working in the industry for over ten years now, and yet, I am not part of it. I know the ins and outs, the who is who, and the whatnots, but I work differently. I believe in films, in filmmakers, in stories that need to be told. The rest is a business and I was never good at business. Filmmaking is my favorite extreme sport.

I choose my films based on content of the material and the vision of the directors, not on budgets or any other Hollywood crap. The films I cast are like friends I want to hang out with for the rest of my life. No room for casual and small talk. My friends are my passion, my wealth, and the most important thing in my life. Usually, what lures me into casting a film is the challenges, the impossible. If all you need me to do is get you a bunch of famous names in your film, then I am not your guy.

I don’t believe in stars, celebrity, wealth or good looks. The only thing I respect is talent and hard work.

Casting is like seducing the love of your life without having met the person yet. You can’t be too needy or too pushy. There is timing, perseverance, strategy, understanding, patience, and you have to bee a keen observant and listener. It is hard to make somebody fall in love with you, but not impossible.

I see casting from a director’s point of view. I think about the challenges on set, the communication, the acting process, the methodology, the rehearsals, I anticipate the problems and the surprises that usually come way after the Casting Process is over.

Part of my work is to face challenges from a creative point of view, go to the least obvious places and do the leg work, discover people, find unknown talent. The day I can cast a film from my desk I will no longer be a Casting Director.

I am one of those fortunate beings that is surrounded by incredibly talented friends, who at the same time are surrounded by talent. My decisions as a casting director, as a person, and as a filmmaker are the ones that have granted me the respect and appreciation of these people. When I call an actor they know that I am not just offering a job but an opportunity to do something different. They know that if I get involved in a projected it is because the projects is extraordinary and that is why they trust me.

The Value
I speak, write and read Spanish, English and Portuguese fluently, and I have lived and worked in every major Latin American country as well as Spain, N.Y. and L.A.. I have cast and auditioned every available actor in those places.

When I cast a film I get involved as if it IS my film, I won’t eat, sleep or stop working until the film is in the can.

I have had to learn how to produce my own films so I have a great relationship with producers in terms of packaging talent that helps the financing, the logistic and the money saving aspects of the film production. I believe that all the money should be ON the screen.

I don’t choose actors. I study with them, work with them, get to know them so I can guide my directors, advice them, argue, debate, and finally facilitate the process so they can ultimately make their own decisions and have the right person in the right role. It is incredibly pleasurable to make a meal with the right ingredients. Casting your film should not be a nightmare deprived of options. My job and talent is to avoid that from ever happening to you as a director.


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More: Special Interest, Producers to Watch, Latino

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1 Comment

  • Victor Goss | July 6, 2010 10:56 AMReply

    Sydney - This sound really excellent.... thanks for your eclectic eye & ear.
    v
    http://doristhemovie.com

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