An Experiential Evening with Jennifer Venditti at Basilica Hudson

May 7


On Saturday, May 7, Basilica Hudson will present in collaboration with A24 an experiential pop-up evening with casting director and filmmaker Jennifer Venditti to celebrate the launch of her new book Can I Ask You A Question? The Art and Alchemy of Casting. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Her work relies on “chance encounters with random strangers” who capture her imagination. She usually engages them with a simple opener: “Can I ask you a question?”

Can I Ask You a Question? is a thorough exploration into Venditti’s uncommon casting process that brings real life to narrative films and series including Good Time, Uncut Gems, and Euphoria. 

With over 300 pages of original casting photos, writing by Venditti, plus interviews and contributions from collaborators including director Josh Safdie, photographer Alec Soth, and casting scouts Eleonore Hendricks and Michele Mansoor, the book is a rare behind-the-scenes look at the work of one of film’s most visionary figures.

Can I Ask You a Question? has been met with significant critical acclaim, including the cover of The New York Times Style Section and more:

Jennifer Venditti Will See You Now” by Jon Caramanica for
The New York Times

“You can tell a Venditti production — which typically blends nonprofessional actors with professionals — from the creases, the unexpected patina, the uncanny gestures that seem to unfold at a slightly different speed than most fictional work. From a distance, it can appear to be an aesthetic choice, but in actuality, it’s a philosophy that manifests visually.”

— The New York Times

About Jennifer Venditti (click to open)

Jennifer’s work recognizes the extraordinary in the ordinary, confronting stereotypes and broadening our ideas of beauty and our understanding of what it means to be human.

She began her career in 1998 in fashion where early on she identified a lack of diversity in representations of beauty. She developed then unheard of street casting techniques that evolved our definitions of what is considered beautiful. Her work appeared throughout the 90’s and 2000’s in some of the worlds most visible fashion and advertising imagery.

While scouting, Venditti began interviewing subjects to understand the people behind the faces. One such interview became a feature length documentary; Billy the Kid. Billy the Kid brought attention from the film community, who began seeking her out to cast films when traditional casting techniques fell short.

For each project, Venditti engages a full spectrum of talent possibilities; trained actors, performers, models, everyday people, members of sub culture and diverse communities. She celebrates the alchemy that results from the mix.

Venditti has cast such film and tv projects as HBO’s hit show Euphoria, Mike Mill’s feature C’mon C’mon starring Joaquin Phoenix, the Safdie Brother’s Uncut Gems and Good Time, Alma Har’el’s Honey Boy starring Shila Lbeouf, Gotham Award Nominated Give Me Liberty and Andrea Arnold’s American Honey. She is currently casting Director Park Chan Wook’s next TV project with HBO/A24, an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Sympathizer.

Additional photos provided by A24