People across Nunavut could soon see their own neighbours on Netflix.
Casting has begun for an unnamed comedy television series set in Iqaluit, and the call is open to all Inuit between eight and 80 years old.
Those interested in earning paid roles on the series are encouraged to apply by following the instructions listed at ArcticComedy.CastingCrane.com. There is not currently a deadline for applications.
“Right now we’re doing a large-scale open call,” said Jesse Griffiths of Jesse Griffiths Casting, one of the companies handling casting for the project.
The series, which will also air on CBC and APTN, is the creation of established Nunavut-born filmmakers Stacey Aglok MacDonald and Alethea Arnaquq-Baril. The plot will centre around a young Inuk mother trying to build a future for herself in Iqaluit — a community where “everybody knows your business,” according to the project’s tentative tagline.
Griffiths has received more than 350 applications in the last several months, but he encourages Nunavummiut to continue applying.
“We’re really happy so far with the turnout but we want to make sure this is as exhaustive as possible and we see as many people as we can,” he said. “We’re trying to cast a full town. This is an episodic TV show, so there will be lots of characters and lots of episodes.”
Auditioning for a role on a major television program might seem daunting to many people living in Nunavut, where the film industry is still finding its feet, but Griffiths assured that experience is not a huge factor in the selection process.
The main things he and his team will be looking for are charisma, energy and presence, as training will fill any gaps in experience or skill.
“The thing when you’re doing an open call search like this is there are people out there that just have a natural energy, a natural lightness, a natural connection to the material,” he said. “When we’re watching these self-tapes, we know they’re not a professional actor, but there’s something about them that resonates. They have that quality that makes you think to yourself that they could be good in a certain role.
“Once we get a sense of who’s out there and what they’re capable of, and their interest, we can slot them into more specific role.”
Filming for the series will take place in Iqaluit next spring or summer. Specific dates have not yet been finalized.
While there’s still a substantial amount of casting work to be done before filming can begin, Griffiths is pleased with what he’s seen from Nunavummiut so far, and is optimistic that the finished product will be a hit.
“We’ve been really impressed with the level of talent and professionalism and care that people have been putting into the work,” he said. “Having read the pilot, I was laughing, I was moved, I was shocked and excited, and that’s from someone who’s not part of the Inuit community.
“I hope that the people watching this will feel strong connections to the characters that they see,” he added. “I’m hoping people get excited and take a lot of pride in the work that’s being done shooting in the North.”