Shot of Tea and Break Away Casting announce partnership
November 10, 2023
Shot of Tea, the London-based TV and film production company, has announced its new collaborative production model with Break Away Casting, founded by casting director Jennifer Presser. In the partnership, Presser will step into the role of Creative Producer on Shot of Tea projects, marking a rare venture where a production company integrates casting expertise into the developmental stage of its slate.
The partnership will see Shot of Tea and Break Away Casting collaborate on original projects in an effort to promote underrepresented scripts and talent, and combine production and casting expertise following a turbulent year following industry strike action. The companies will continue to operate independently, but with over 30+ years of combined experience, the partnership and model aims to create new opportunities for talent to engage with projects in diverse and innovative ways, with an aim to push the envelope on what gets greenlit in the industry.
This collaboration also aims to revolutionize the industry model by merging casting and production from the outset, elevating both processes by making them more transparent and aligned.
Shot of Tea, founded in 2017 by Aletha Shepherd, has carved out a niche for itself with its portfolio of character-driven films and television series. Its upcoming film Everything & The Universe, currently in post-production and featuring EJ Bonilla, Nicolette Pearse, Chelsea Gilligan, and Luke Roberts is poised to make waves at upcoming film festivals. Shepherd is also serving as Executive Producer on series The Red Team with Naomie Harris, currently in development.
Jennifer Presser brought her extensive film and television expertise to the UK market in 2023 when she opened the London office of her casting agency earlier this year. Her illustrious career encompasses early Oscar-nominated films such as The Help and Up In the Air, as well as Sundance-premiered Alice 2(022), starring Keke Palmer and Common. She co-casted US television series Claws for two seasons, which earned her a CSA Artios nomination in 2019.
Jennifer Presser, Head of Casting and Founder of Break Away Casting, says: “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. 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.”
Aletha Shepherd, Producer and Founder of Shot of Tea, says: “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.”