Why the Whole World Should Celebrate Canadian Filmmakers and Musicians on Canada's 150th Birthday - Raindance

Living in London, England makes Canada seem a long way away. There is precious little news of Canada here, unless it’s about Justin Trudeau. How I wish we had a leader like Trudeau in my native Poland. There is, however, a lot of news about Candaian filmmakers.

I know that there are Raindance hubs in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. And I also learned that July 1 is when Canada is celebrating 150 years since the creation of Canada – the union of the colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

As a filmmaker myself, I was astounded to learn that many household names are in fact, Canadian. How fortunate my Canadian creative industry colleagues are to be able to count such a broad ranging and diverse group of artists.

Canadian Filmmakers

Xavier Dolan

Xavier Dolan Canadian actor and filmmaker, Paris, FRANCE – 30/09/2014/JDD_132501/Credit:Eric DESSONS/JDD/SIPA/1410061331

– born 20 March 1989, sometimes credited as Xavier Dolan-Tadros, is a French Canadian actor, director, screenwriter, editor, costume designer, and voice actor from Quebec. He began his career as a child actor in commercials before directing several art house feature films. He first received international acclaim in 2009 for his debut feature ‘I Killed My Mother’ (J’ai tué ma mère). He is so young but impacts Film industry so much that I have to include him in the list. He deserves the tag: ‘enfant terribel’ of Canadian filmmakers.

Denis Villeneuve

Born October 3, 1967, Denis Villeneuve is a Canadian film director and writer. He is a four-time recipient of the Canadian Screen Award (formerly Genie Award) for Best Direction, for Maelström in 2001, Polytechnique in 2010, Incendies in 2011, and Enemy in 2013. His astonishing recent works like ‘Prisoners’ in 2013, ‘Sicario’ in 2015 and the incredible, oscar-nominated ‘Arrival’ in 2016 have catapulted him into one of the greatest modern directors, allowing him to take the reigns of the iconic ‘Blade Runner’ films with the upcoming ‘Blade Runner 2049’.

David Cronenberg

Canadian filmmakers

Cronenberg was born March 15, 1943, and is a Canadian film-maker, actor, and author. One of the most controversial creators of film, visceral body horror dominates his films. Whether these be his earlier groundbreaking effects work in Videodrome (1983) or The Fly (1986), or his later, but still exploratory and captivating films like ‘Crash’ (1996), ‘Eastern Promises’ (2007) and ‘Map to the Stars’ (2014). Cronenberg is relentless is investigating how we manipulate our bodies to adapt to our modern technological world, and in this pursuit, he turns grotesque distortions into things of beauty.

Allan King

Allan King was born on February 6, 1930, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, died 2009. He was a director and producer, known for ‘Silence of the North’ (1981), ‘Dying at Grace’ (2003) and ‘Warrendale’ (1967), ‘Memory for Max’, ‘Claire, Ida and Company’ (2005). I actually had a chance to see him during Krakow Film Festival a year before he died when he was receiving Dragon of Dragons awarding his work.


Keanu Reeves

Canadian filmmakers

Born September 2, 1964, Keanu Reeves is a Canadian actor, director, producer, and musician. Starting off in ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’, we know him well from the cool ‘Matrix’, and great roles in ‘Constantine’ or ‘Speed’. Recently, he has made a comeback after a brief lull from his ubiquitous ’90s appearances, with roles in ‘The Neon Demon’, and headlining ‘the John Wick’ series. I just love him and think he is one of the best actors ever, and stories of his dedication, hard work and humbleness on set simply add to it.

Martin Short

Martin Short  (born March 26, 1950) is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, writer, singer, and producer. A continuing face in Hollywood, Martin Short has carved out a long-lasting career in comedy with his outstanding humor and nuanced wit.

Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds was born on October 23, 1976, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. For me, is the face of comedy. He is well known for comedies as ‘We All Fall Down’, ‘The Alarmist’, ‘Van Wilder’ or ‘Ordinary Magic’ plus thriller ‘Finder`s Fee’. His natural charisma makes him constantly endearing, and has come to fantastic success from his performance in ‘Deadpool’, a film he personally fought to get made the way he felt it deserved to be.

Ryan Gosling

Canadian filmmakers

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Ryan Gosling born November 12, 1980, is a Canadian actor, producer, and musician. Well known from such a great films like ‘Drive’ and ‘The Notebook, but he has been noticed in the film industry. Once he was awarded at Sundance Film Festival for his role in ‘The Believer’. One of his first films, The Slaughter Rule played Raindance in 2002. His dashing good looks are matched with his witty charm in films like ‘The Nice Guys’ and ‘La La Land’, and his upcoming lead role in ‘Blade Runner 2049’, means he remains a Hollywood A-list actor.

Donald Sutherland

Canadian filmmakers

PALM SPRINGS, CA – JANUARY 06: Actor Donald Sutherland arrives at the 20th anniversary of the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala presented by Cartier held at the Palm Springs Convention Center on January 6, 2009 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Donald Sutherland was born 17 July 1935, and is a Canadian actor whose film career spans more than five decades. No real need for introduction for his legendary contributions to cinema. His work in the ’70s for such acclaimed works as ‘Mash’, ‘Don’t Look Now’ and ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ guaranteed him an iconic status, which has been maintained with appearances in ‘The Hunger Games’ films. His son Keifer Sutherland is also a force to be reckoned with, given his role in the hit TV show ’24’. He went to a local high school in Toronto before launching his career.


Joni Mitchell

Canadian filmmakers

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS: Joni Mitchell posed in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1972 (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns)

Joni Mitchell – born November 7, 1943, is a Canadian singer-songwriter and painter Covers of her ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ is still being made, about nature’s losing war with civilization. With its references to pesticides and deforestation, it’s just as relevant today. Her songs are dedicated to the times when I feel nostalgic but still… her work from 50 years ago but so real nowadays.

The Band

The Band – was a Canadian-American roots rock group formed in Toronto, Ontario in 1968 by Rick Danko (bass guitar, vocals), Garth Hudson (keyboards), Richard Manuel (piano, vocals), Robbie Robertson (guitar), and Levon Helm (drums, vocals). Bigger than the Rolling Stones in the early 70’s their music still has a zing and freshness that delights listeners and influences musicians. Scorcese honored them by making the best selling documentary of their last gig in San Francisco – ‘The Last Waltz’.

Leonard Cohen

-(September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, poet, novelist, and painter. His work explored not only religion but the important stuff as politics and troubles with isolation or even sexuality. Most people consider him as a masterpiece of songwriting. His ‘Halleluja’ also been covered by such an artists likeJohn Cale in the first Shrek film, Willie Nelson, Bon Jovi or Simple Plan.

Alanis Morisette

– born June 1, 1974, a Canadian singer, her first album, Jagged Little Pill, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Featuring singles like ‘You Oughta Know’, ‘Head Over Feet’, ‘Hand in My Pocket’, and ‘Ironic’, it was the best-selling debut album by a female artist in the U.S. and the highest-selling debut album worldwide. Her album, ‘Jagged Little Pil’, sold more than 33 million units globally. She is not only a songwriting singer but also musician, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actress. Her charismatic voice and original texts still make me goosebumps when I listen to her songs.

Bryan Adams

– born 5 November 1959, is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer, guitarist, photographer, philanthropist, and activist. I just simply love his voice, songs and I love the ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’. For me, is one of the first love stories I have watched in my life:) ‘Everything I do, I do it for you’ is still one of the great love songs ever.

Elliot Grove

Canadian filmmakers Elliot Grove

– the last as a cherry on the cake. When we are talking about Canada and Independence, we have the most important person in the industry which is Elliot himself. Based in London, Canadian film-maker who is teaching and inspire the future generations of film-makers how to make great movies with no or with a low budget. All of us we wouldn’t be able to read it if he wouldn’t get that spark in his head 25 years ago! What a great number it is! Well done Elliot! And thank you! I am happy that I could join the team.

Elliot is presenting Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking Masterclass in Toronto




Natalia Bolek is London based, Film and TV production graduate with a couple of years of experience within Polish Film Festivals, Alvernia Studios, production management of couple independent Polish films and Krakow Regional Film Fund.
She is crazy about vintage and upcycles furniture, which she also does herself. Also, a mother, driven by a passion to Films and Festival Management recently just joined the Raindance Team.