Filmmaker Wiebke von Carolsfeld is looking for an undiscovered aboriginal actress, aged 14 to 18, to play the lead role in her upcoming feature film, The Saver.
The film, which von Carolsfeld adapted from a young-adult novel by Edeet Ravel, is about an aboriginal teen named Fern, whose mother dies during a tough Montreal winter.
Determined to make it on her own, Fern, 16, pledges to become a millionaire by saving everything she can.
'What's important is that you want to play and explore this character and explore this world.' - Filmmaker Wiebke von Carolsfeld
"What really drew me to the film is this character," says von Carolsfeld, who was approached by Ravel to adapt the novel. "She's voraciously independent. She's very smart and audacious.
"And I think we don't see enough young women like that in the media. But I think they exist. So I was very much fascinated by her right away."
The Montreal-based director says she's not expecting to find someone with experience on camera.
"What's important is that you want to play and explore this character and explore this world."
And von Carolsfeld is certainly familiar with discovering young talent. When she made her first feature film, Marion Bridge, she cast a relatively unknown actress, who had never acted in a full-length movie: Ellen Page.
That young actress, who was 14 at the time, has since starred in some major Hollywood blockbusters, including Juno and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
"I think it's a very exciting opportunity for a young actor," says von Carolsfeld, whose first two films, including last year's Stay, were shown at the Toronto International Film Festival.
'Disconnected from her culture'
Von Carolsfeld says the filming will take place in March 2015 in Montreal, but Prospector Films is asking for young Inuit and First Nations girls from across the country to apply.
"What's important is that she feels like an outsider, but it doesn't actually matter where she's from," says von Carolsfeld, who, as a German immigrant, knows about living in an unfamiliar community.
"What is important is that she is disconnected from her culture and her people."
Prospector Films has hired Rene Haynes Casting, which specializes in casting aboriginal talent, to find the perfect Fern.
They're asking aboriginal teen girls, between the ages of 14 and 18, to submit their audition video online by Dec. 20, 2014.