Canada’s Rising Screen Stars: Six top film talents open up during lockdown

In an industry that has been locked down for the better part of the last year, you can count on Canada to produce screen stars who keep rising. The pandemic closed movie theatres, delayed releases and halted productions. It also widened the gap between the haves and the have-nots in the film and television industry. Indie productions were hit particularly hard by the high expense of shooting with strict COVID-19 protocols.

As we approach National Canadian Film Day (April 21) we’re celebrating five potent voices from the Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto areas who made do, finding ways to pivot, complete their projects – and, in some cases, land Canadian Screen Awards nominations – in spite of it all.

Actor and recording artist Kiawentiio is the youngest talent to be featured in our annual Canada’s Rising Screen Stars issue. Her gripping performance in Tracy Deer’s Oka crisis drama Beans made her an obvious choice.

Kelly Fyffe-Marshall discusses the challenge for new talent to marshal the attention of Canada, a country that tends to sleep on its own talent until they get a US co-sign.

Multidisciplinary artist Caroline Monnet tells NOW how her work reflects and navigates the complexities of Indigenous identity, which has been an especially tricky subject in the last year.

Vancouver’s Valerie Tian talks about owning her own voice in new roles after more than a decade toiling as a child actor.

And Toronto duo Madeline Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli, who are partners at work and in life, explain what it was like to make an arresting and provocative thriller Violation from the confines of their own home during a pandemic.

Lockdowns also meant that we couldn’t host the usual photoshoot for this annual issue. So we sent these actors and filmmakers disposable cameras to bring us into their bubbles and show us where the creativity happens. We knew it would work out great because they know their way around a camera – and a pandemic.

Read this year’s Canada’s Rising Screen Stars stories below:

Beans star Kiawentiio starts her dramatic journey strong

Kelly Fyffe-Marshall makes a big impact with the short Black Bodies

Vancouver actor Valerie Tian is ready to kick ass

Montreal’s Caroline Monnet blurs boundaries between film and fine art

Violation duo Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli get intense


Stay In The Know with Now Toronto

Be the first to know about new and exclusive content