EXCLUSIVE: Casting director Jennifer Presser has set her company Break Away Casting into what has been described as a “new collaborative production model” with the London-based TV and film production company Shot of Tea.
As part of the deal, Presser will step into the role of creative producer on Shot of Tea projects. The two companies will collaborate on original projects with the aim of promoting underrepresented scripts and talent. The companies will continue to operate independently.
Shot of Tea, founded in 2017 by Aletha Shepherd, focuses on character-driven films and television series. Its upcoming film Everything & The Universe is currently in post-production and features EJ Bonilla, Nicolette Pearse, Chelsea Gilligan, and Luke Roberts. Shepherd also serves as executive producer on the series The Red Team with Naomie Harris, currently in development.
Presser moved into the UK market earlier this year, opening the London office of her casting agency. Her extensive credits include Oscar-nominated films such as The Help and Up In the Air alongside the Sundance title Alice (2022), starring Keke Palmer and Common. She co-casted US television series Claws for two seasons, which earned her a CSA Artios nomination in 2019.
“I have worked with producers for over a decade, and there has always been more of a gulf between the casting and the production process than there needs to be,” said Presser. “This year’s elongated period of strike action is a symptom of that and other wider problems, and creative, modern collaborations and new models like this one between us and Shot of Tea represent the effort from the next generation of talent to solve these problems once and for all.”
Shepherd added: “Both Shot of Tea and Break Away Casting are dedicated to nurturing emerging talent and championing underrepresented narratives, and the partnership represents direct action against a wider issue of inaccessibility and inequality. To be able to integrate casting expertise as a key part of production from the outside will not only provide more direct opportunities to talent, it will improve the process of setting up and completing production.”