Casting call for Digital Filmmaking intersession film

‘The Last Beothuk’ recounts the tragic story of Shanawdithit

4/12/2023 2:06:27 PM

STEPHENVILLE, NL – Calling all aspiring actors – it’s time to get into character and show what you’ve got!

College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Digital Filmmaking program is set for its 12th annual intersession production in mid-May and it’s starting with an open casting call this month.
CNA’s Digital Filmmaking program is set to begin work on its 12th annual intersession production. Shown is a photo from 2015, the crew was working on Emile Benoit, a story about a local fiddler from the Port au Port Peninsula.This year’s film is called The Last Beothuk, the tragic story of Shanawdithit.

The film, entitled The Last Beothuk, is a historical drama set against the backdrop of colonial Newfoundland and features the last known member of the Beothuk tribe, Shanawdithit, as she recounts the tragic history of her people to William Cormack. It promises to be an emotional story that explores several themes, such as culture, identity and the impact of colonization on Indigenous communities.

Peter Buckle, Digital Filmmaking instructor at Bay St. George campus in Stephenville, says the script is already written and this year’s production looks to be a little more complex to film, so the students want to get an early start.

“This year, we hired indigenous filmmaker and graduate of the Digital Filmmaking program, Eric White, to direct the production,” said Buckle. “He has been working with the students since January on writing, researching and vetting the script. The students have taken this project very seriously. They know the importance of the story they are about to tell and they understand the responsibility they are taking on by telling this story. As a result, they have been very careful to get the story right.”
CNA’s Digital Filmmaking program is set to begin work on its 12th annual intersession production, The Last Beothuk, the tragic story of Shanawdithit. A general casting call for video auditions / submissions is open now until April 21. Shooting is set to take place May 22-26, primarily in Stephenville.

A general casting call for video auditions / submissions is being made for The Last Beothuk’s eight principal roles (a description of each character can be found below), including Shanawdithit, William Cormack, Charles Simms, John Peyton, Demasduit, Nonsabasut, David Buchan and John Stark. There will also be casting for several extras, such as Beothuk men and women, soldiers and villagers.

Deadline for entries is Friday, April 21, 2023, and shooting will take place from May 22-26, with Stephenville as the primary location.

Buckle notes that compensation is available for actors in the production. Interested participants who are looking for more information about the roles and how to audition can contact him at:

For more information about Digital Filmmaking or any other CNA program, visit:

Media contact:
Michelle Barry
Communications Manager
College of the North Atlantic


The Last Beothuk principal roles:

Shanawdithit: She is the last known Beothuk woman. In her mid-20s, she watched her people die out, then allowed herself to be taken prisoner by the Peyton family to work as a servant. She is suddenly sent to live with William Cormack, who wishes to learn more about her people. Shanawdithit doesn’t know much English and keeps herself quiet and obedient for the sake of her own survival, reluctantly disclosing the information of her culture to Cormack.

William Cormack: He is a Scottish explorer, philanthropist, and author in his early 40s. He is eccentric and excitable, wishing to explore Newfoundland in search of the Beothuk people. He is sent Shanawdithit, the last known Beothuk, whom he studies and interviews in an attempt to preserve the Beothuk culture, forming the Beothuk Institute. He is one of the few people who attempts mutual respect and understanding of Shanawdithit, even when her lack of English frustrates him.

Charles Simms: He is the Attorney General of St John’s, and a close friend to Cormack. Also in his 40s, Simms is a man of influence and justice, doing what he can for the community. He brings Shanawdithit to Cormack, and even takes care of her in her final moments when Cormack leaves St John’s. A man of serious demeanour, Simms also has a heart of gold.

John Peyton: He is an English-born fisherman in his 20s who worked with the Marines that led an expedition to retrieve supplies from the Beothuk people. A selfish man who cares more about his own resources, ignorantly caused the deaths of many Beothuks. He helped abduct Demasduit, another Beothuk woman, and his family would later take Shanawdithit as a servant. Although he never specifically wanted to kill the Beothuk people, his lack of respect took the lives of many.

Demasduit: A Beothuk woman who was taken in her early 20s to be a translator before her niece, Shanawdithit. She also died in her early 20s as a result of the ignorance of the settlers. She doesn’t understand any English, and so with every interaction she has with the settlers, she is on edge.

Nonsabasut: The chief of the Beothuk tribe and husband to Demasduit, Nonsabasut just wants what is best for his people. Even in his final moments, this brute of a man with long intimidating hair, tries to make peace, surrendering to the Marines. When his wife is taken, he rushes in to save her, with great strength and anger, but is no match against European weapons.

David Buchan: A Scottish lieutenant with the Royal Navy who works with the Marines to initially make peaceful contact with the Beothuk. The man in his mid-20s wishes to give the Beothuk gifts, but unbeknownst to him, other raids and settlers have already frightened the Beothuk people, causing a misunderstanding between the two groups. He simply follows orders and does what he is instructed, returning the corpse of Demasduit to her people.

John Stark: A friend and business partner of Cormack, who works with the Beothuk Institute. Shanawdithit hands Cormack one of his letters.