Even the most casual movie-goers by now are probably familiar with the cast of the Oscar-nominated film Lion, especially Dev Patel and the 8-year-old sensation Sunny Pawar. But that’s not the whole story of a film that seems to be enjoying an almost fairy-tale-like success.
There is one more person who has been an intricate part of the film’s success and if you at any point gushed about Sunny Pawar online, you have her to thank for finding and casting him.
Meet Tess Joseph.
She is the Indian casting director who will be attending the Academy Award Nominees’ Dinner this month. While this will be her first time attending the prestigious event, Tess has enjoyed an incredibly successful career and is making a big mark in Hollywood as the casting director with a seemingly Midas touch.
Here are five facts about Tess that will leave you impressed:
Image source: Twitter
She started her career at Bournvita Quiz Contest
She started her career with Bournvita Quiz Contest in Kolkata. At the time, she had been told that a filmmaker was looking for an old flat in the city and Tess offered her own for the shooting. That’s how she met director Mira Nair. And that serendipitous meeting would kick-start a fruitful career as Mira Nair would hire Tess as the casting director for her hit film, Namesake.
She has worked with some of the most acclaimed directors in the world
Apart from having worked with Mira Nair and Garth Davis (Lion), she has also worked with directors like Wes Anderson, Jeffrey Brown, Ang Lee and Doug Liman. Ang Lee, one of the most celebrated directors of modern cinema, has won two Oscars for Best Director. He had been looking for the right actor to play the main lead in the movie Life of Pi for months. Tess, along with her team, delivered Ayush Tandon for the role in a matter of one week.
She fights for women’s rights
Using her considerable clout, Tess, has steadily worked towards the promotion of girls’ rights in the country and the world. She was one of the co-producers of Girl Rising and has worked with Oscar-winner Megan Mylan on a short documentary called After My Garden Grows, which puts the spotlight on education for girls. Apart from this, she also serves on the Board of Directors at an NGO called GD Sanjog in Kolkata. The NGO works to combat violence against women and children.
She is active on Twitter
To follow her on Twitter is to get a running commentary on all the actors she has helped cast over the years. She also often talks about social causes that are close to her heart.
— Tess Joseph (@Tesselmania) February 13, 2017
She runs a platform specifically to promote the arts
She is the director of a platform called Kommune, which according to its Twitter bio, is a “collective of artists, performers and creators looking to create and nurture performance art ideas.”
To know more about GD Sanjog, click here