Cassidy acting coach Jacqui Kaese won her first Leo award for casting the Vancouver Island-made film ‘All-In Madonna.’ (Photo submitted)

Cassidy acting coach wins B.C. film award for casting Island film

Jacqui Kaese receives first Leo Award for work on film 'All-In Madonna'

An acting coach who lives in Cassidy has won an award for her work in an under-appreciated part of the filmmaking process.

Last month the 2021 Leo Awards were held, honouring achievements in film and television in B.C. Among the winners was Nanaimo’s Jacqui Kaese, who with her partner Lynne Carrow won the Best Casting Motion Picture award for their work on All-In Madonna by Victoria filmmaker Arnold Lim. It was Kaese’s first win and first nomination.

Kaese said it was an unexpected honour for her and her partner. As an acting coach, she’s used to her students being the ones winning awards.

“I always dreamed of winning the Oscar when I was a child, but so do we all in this industry,” she said. “I was delighted when I won Excellence in Culture for the City of Nanaimo a few years back for my work in film, but this is an ultimate for B.C., which is great. This is fantastic.”

Kaese describes All-In Madonna as a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl who has to come to terms with her father’s past. She said it was important to the director and producer that the film remain an Island production, and as a result much of the cast Kaese helped assemble hails from the Nanaimo and Parksville-Qualicum Beach area. She said her ability to identify “untapped talent” contributed to the Leo win.

Kaese said those responsible for casting, like acting coaches and stuntpeople, normally don’t get attention at award ceremonies. She hopes that changes and “one day these boards recognize that we’re a valuable part of the journey to get actors where they need to go.”

“Nicole Kidman, when I worked with her, had her dialect coach on set with her all the time and her acting coach and her hair dresser, her whole entourage, but very rarely are these people mentioned,” Kaese said. “Some boards do but most boards don’t and I’m grateful that the Leos in B.C. recognize that casting is especially important for these independent movies because they discover talent that is untapped. We find new people.”

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