6 Canadian Directors to Watch: “Making Unsettling Films Which Challenge Ourselves”

Two former actresses and a pair of still-photographer brothers are among the up-and-comers from the Great White North.

Wayne Wapeemukwa, Sadaf Foroughi, Shelagh McLeod, Jackie English, Jason and Carlos Sanchez

Canadian film has seen the emergence of a number of new directorial voices looking to follow Denis Villeneuve and Jean Marc Vallee into the mainstream.

Here are six filmmakers from the Great White North primed for success in 2018 and beyond.

  • Wayne Wapeemukwa

    Courtesy of subject 

    Wapeemukwa, 27, won the best Canadian first feature prize at the 2017 Toronto film fest with his debut, Luk’Luk’I. “Walking away from TIFF with the best first feature prize confirmed for my cast, crew and me that we were on the right track,” he says.

    He knew with Luk’Luk’I that big risks were taken. “Some worked, a lot didn’t,” Wapeemukwa adds.

    But he insists the indie film world needs bold filmmakers: “I think that making unsettling films which challenge ourselves and disturb our complacency are more important than ever in a world where people are making more walls than bridges.”

    His next project will expand on the themes tackled in Luk’Luk’I. “So far I’m calling the film Afterlife, but it could also be called The Lamb and the Slaughter: it’s about a cult, and how our society is predicated on everyday violence,” Wapeemukwa explains.

  • Sadaf Foroughi

    Courtesy of subject 

    Born in Iran, Foroughi, 41, studied in France and settled in Montreal before writing and directing Ava, a coming-of-age drama that won the FIPRESCI critics prize at Toronto in 2017.

    Foroughi sees herself in the long tradition of auteur filmmakers exploring different forms of personal expression. “Filmmaking for me is the communication medium where I live in harmony with my imagination and there is no limitation. I use my dreams and breathe them into my observation in order to re-create the world, the world which reflects my feelings and my struggles with my existence,” she says.