It's been a fairytale year for two Thunder Bay, Ont. teens who star in the critically acclaimed film, Sleeping Giant

17-year-old cousins Nick Serino and Reece Moffett won the roles after answering an open casting call. Apart from a few school plays, neither had any previous acting experience.

Their first foray into film has turned out to be much more than they imagined. Sleeping Giant debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in France earlier this year. Now it's showing at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

"Just making the whole film has been amazing," said Serino. "It was an experience I'll probably never get again, even if I do other movies."

Sleeping Giant, directed by Andrew Cividino and filmed in Thunder Bay, tells the story of three teenage boys who spend an idle summer on the shore of Lake Superior, getting up to all manner of trouble.

It made for a dream job for Serino and Moffett, who spent their days on set riding golf carts, cliff-jumping, and setting off fireworks.

"It was definitely one of the most fun summers of my life, that's for sure," said Moffett.

'Life-changing' experience

It all started when Nick Serino's mother saw an advertisement for an audition.

He decided to try his luck. 

"I had no script. I knew absolutely nothing about the movie," he said. "I just went in, they gave me a piece of paper, and I started reading."

A few weeks later he got a phone call. The part was his for the taking.

"I was so excited," he said. "I was in so much shock I didn't even know what to do... I didn't know how to react."

When the director was looking for another teen to play Serino's on-screen cousin, Serino suggested Moffett, and  the real-life cousins soon found themselves in front of the camera.

Both Serino and Moffett say the experience of making the film, and going to major festivals, has been "life-changing," and has inspired them to pursue careers in film. 

The teens will both be at TIFF for the screenings on September 15 and 17.