Issue 40 | May 2008

  • Message from the Membership Directors
  • Message from Mia
  • Pencil Me In - Harvardwood Events in London and Cannes
  • Help Support Harvardwood -- Sign up for The Rundown!
  • Member Profile: Lisa Beach '80
  • Industry Successes
  • Featured Member Posting: Discovery Channel Show Seeks Producers/Writers/PAs/Production Coordinators

Message from the Membership Directors

Can you believe it's May already?! We can't either, but it's never too early for summer. Whether you are gearing up for the beach or winding down from Arts First, enjoy our member profile on Lisa Beach '80. As always, thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue. Congratulations to all of you and please continue to share your stories, as your participation is what Harvardwood is all about!

Angela and Kibi

Message from Mia

May is shaping up to be a truly international month for Harvardwood, with events taking place in London and Cannes as well as all over the US! A big thank you goes to the fabulous Lisa Beach '80, who participated in a discussion about her work as a casting director and conducted individual meetings with actors on campus as part of our Harvardwood Presents program during Arts First weekend.

Don't forget to send in your HAA Directors and Harvard Overseers ballots by May 30th. Our Harvardwood advisory board member Robert Kraft '76 is up for one of six elected positions on the HAA Board of Directors -- though he is too modest to say so, he has been a huge part of Harvardwood's development and success since the beginning. Please cast your vote and spread the word -- this is a great way to make sure our burgeoning arts & entertainment community continues to have a voice at ye olde alma mater!


Pencil Me In - Harvardwood Events in London and Cannes

Harvardwood UK Heads To...CASHBACK – Special film screening: Thurs, 15 May 2008

Harvardwood UK invites you to a special screening of the new feature film CASHBACK. Based on the 2006 Oscar-nominated short film, CASHBACK will be hosted by the film's Associate Producer Winnie Li AB '00 and Judy Batalion AB '00, London Chapter Heads of Harvardwood. For more info, please visit:

Harvardwood at Cannes 2008 - May 17

Harvardwood & the Harvard Club of France, together with the Columbia Alumni Association, Columbia Club of France and Ivy Entertainment, cordially invite Harvardwood members and their guests to our third annual event at the Festival de Cannes: Cocktail Mixer at Chokko, Saturday, May 17th, from 6 to 8:30pm. For more info, please visit:

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Member Profile: Lisa Beach '80

by Stacey Collins

I wish I had been in Cambridge last weekend. Lisa Beach, class of '80, spoke at the Science Center for a Harvardwood Arts First event, and those in attendance had a real treat. Yes, she's having an amazingly successful career in Hollywood, but it's her liveliness and warmth that could charm the socks off anyone. And her integrity inspires. In an industry known for its survival of the fittest mentality, spending time with Ms. Beach is a delight.

Her accolades speak for themselves. In her twenty years of experience as a casting director for feature films and television, she has cast over fifty films, TV movies, TV pilots and series. The Casting Society of America has honored her with three Artios Awards for her work on WEDDING CRASHERS, ABOUT SCHMIDT and ELECTION. Other credits include FRED CLAUS, 3:10 to YUMA, WALK THE LINE, REDEYE, WHITE CHICKS, GIRL INTERRUPTED, the SCREAM trilogy, and SCHOOL TIES.

If you recognize Lisa Beach from her photo, it's because you've seen her on the silver screen. In addition to other small film roles, she played the wedding planner in WEDDING CRASHERS. A casting director in a movie role? What gives? Lisa Beach is no ordinary individual.

Lisa says that "Harvard changed [her] life" due to the opportunities to which she's been exposed, but most importantly because of the people she's met. She marvels at all of the talented people from her class in arts & entertainment: Andy Borowitz, Carlton Cuse, Michael Roberts, Peter Sellars and Lucy Fisher, among others. She's very proud of her class of 1980. "We were a special group on campus and we continue to be a special group."

Her first job after graduating from Harvard was a stint in consulting. She worked as a research assistant at a management consulting firm. The experience made her realize that she did not want a future in the business world. She left Cambridge on June 4th, 1984.

Her first job in Hollywood was as an assistant for director Nick Meyer on the movie VOLUNTEERS. Following that she worked as an assistant for two years under casting director David Rubin. From there she set out on her own. Fast forward to 1990, when Lisa was the sole casting director on BAD INFLUENCE, starring Rob Lowe and James Spader, just a few years after graduating from college.

Lisa feels blessed by having had the opportunity to work with some of the best talent in Hollywood. One of the reasons she loves her job is that she's passionate about fighting for the actor, but she also has an understanding for business needs. She has a lot of respect for the corporate side of things, even though she knew that the corporate world wasn't for her. "Casting can be so creative," says Lisa, "and I love the independence and freedom of the work."

One thing some don't know about Lisa is that she was scheduled to be on Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles on 9/11. A last-minute change in plans prevented her from being on that tragic flight. The experience changed Lisa; she sees the world through new eyes. Her passion doesn't stop with filmmaking. Every year Lisa travels to the continent of Africa. Her past adventures include white-water rafting in Zambia, hot air ballooning in Kenya and scuba diving in Zanzibar. The lure of Africa has resulted in sixteen trips (and counting).

Lisa currently resides in Los Angeles with her pet cats. True to form, Lisa doesn't do this half-way either. Two of her seven cats, Lady Jane and Peach, have been awarded worldwide recognition.

What started Lisa on her amazing journey? It was something about the movie SLEEPER, directed by Woody Allen, that got her thinking about a career in casting. She was inspired by the work of legendary casting director Lynn Stalmaster. Little did she know then that her idea would lead to action, which would take her to the pinnacles of success in Hollywood.

Industry Successes...

Miles Fisher '06 has landed a recurring role in A&E's "The Cleaner," starring Benjamin Bratt. He's onscreen as Tom Cruise in Dimension's "Superhero Movie" and his credits include "Gods and Generals" and "Lone Star Struck."

Orange County native Ashley 1st '03, turned down the Wall Street life to front her own band. After headlining sold out shows at NYC's: Knitting Factory, Bitter End, Mercury Lounge, Arlene's Grocery, the singer/songwriter is bringing her band for its debut west coast tour. Coming off the momentum of their number 13 hit single "You're Just So Good" on the national FMQB radio charts and appearing on SONY BMG's number one Christmas collection cd with Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson "Christmas Classics," the Ashley 1st Band is ready to take on the legendary Whisky A Go Go Stage! Check it out Saturday May 3rd, 8:30pm, The Whisky A Go Go, 8901 Sunset Blvd (Clark+Sunset), Los Angeles, CA 90069,, Tickets: $12, *Harvardwood members receive free album inside! Contact: Bruce Howard [email protected] Ashley 1st [email protected],,

UNSETTLED, the debut doc feature from director/producer Adam Hootnick '97, HLS '01, will open for limited engagements at NYC's Pioneer Theater (Friday, May 9th) and LA's Laemmle Music Hall 3 (Friday, May 16th). The film, which MTV's Kurt Loder calls "extraordinary," is a first-person look at the lives of young Israeli surfers, soldiers, and activists from across the religious and political spectrum during the forced withdrawal of Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip. UNSETTLED has won a number of festival awards including Jury Prizes at Slamdance (2007) and Sonoma Valley (200Cool. Adam Hootnick will attend Q&As at the Friday and Saturday evening screenings in both cities. To view a trailer and get ticket info, visit

Featured Member Posting: Discovery Channel show seeks Producers, Writers, PAs and Production Coordinators

You will travel the world, must have passport... To view full posting, please visit:



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