Tsilhqot’in filmmaker Trevor Mack returns to Williams Lake on May 29 to hold an open casting call for Indigenous actors for his upcoming feature-length film Portraits From A Fire.
Auditions will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Sandman Inn and are open to Indigenous male and female actors of all experience levels. Mack hopes to primarily cast people from the Cariboo-Chilcotin for this movie, though he will be holding a follow-up casting call in Vancouver on June 4 on the second floor 531 Carral Street from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
”Portraits From A Fire is a passion project of mine that I’m very intimately connected to. It’s a story that’s taken shape over the past two years but is a culmination, I think, of my life growing up on the Anaham Reserve as well as my relationships with my family,” Mack said.
In part, Mack will be studying the inherited trauma from residential schools that still affect many Indigenous communities and families to this day. These elements will be interwoven around a coming of age story as a young boy learns to see the world from his mother’s perspective and expand his own understanding of himself after discovering a dark family secret on an old VHS tape.
Ever since he became a filmmaker, Mack has wanted to make a movie based on the reserve he grew up on, shot on the reserve and tackle issues still prevalent there today.
In that respect, making it the setting of his first feature-length film is a dream come true for him. In addition to directing Mack is also co-writing and co-producing the hour and a half long movie.
“I want to shoot all of my films in the Cariboo Chilcotin. It’s where I grew up, where my building blocks of the world were formed I fondly hold everything about the area tightly and I want to showcase it to the world,” Mack said.
In that spirit, he encourages as many local actors and people to audition as possible to bring an authentic Cariboo flavour to the film. Mack is also offering a paid internship to young aspiring Indigenous filmmakers for this film with each member of the production taking on a show for the duration of the film. This internship will be intense, he warned, and those who sign up for it will be expected to be committed and provide their own accommodations.
Portraits From A Fire will be shooting in an around the Cariboo Chilcotin this summer from Aug. 5-23 and Mack said he aims to have it completely edited in time for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival. He plans to screen the film’s world premiere in Williams Lake in the spring of 2020.
The roles Mack is casting for are at the Sandman Inn are as follows:
Tyler: Described as a young Indigenous male aged 15 to 19, Tyler is a quirky but deserved teenager who talks to himself when not creating whacky films with his homemade video equipment.
Young Tyler: A younger version of the main character, this actor is expected to be somewhere between the ages five and eight.
Trish: The 30 to 40-year-old mother of Tyler with an infectious smile but who also bears the regret of her past actions. Trish’s goal throughout the movie is to find closure with her son.
Aaron: A brash young man, aged 17 to 19 years of age, Aaron is an eccentric, confident and humorous man who uses his oversharing persona to suppress his past.
Gord: A rugged Indigenous man who serves as the stoic commander of the Raven Crew forest firefighters. While he often hides behind his staunch manner, Gord still finds time to deliver his infamous one-liner jokes.
Young Aaron: A younger version of Aaron, ideally between the ages of five and eight.
Isabel: An Indigenous woman in her early 60s to late 70s.
Prosper: An Indigenous man somewhere in his early 60s to late 70s.
As part of this process, Mack will be releasing a monthly behind the scenes feature starting in June on YouTube and Facebook to allow people to follow the filmmaking process.