Variety taps Canadians among directors to watch

Several Canadian filmmakers have landed on a list of 10 Directors to Watch by influential Hollywood trade publication Variety.
Filmmaker Ed Gass-Donnelly, left, is seen with actor Peter Stormare during the filming of Small Town Murder Songs. ((VK & Associates))
Several Canadian filmmakers have landed on a list of 10 Directors to Watch by influential Hollywood trade publication Variety.

Denis Villeneuve, Patrick Lussier and Ed Gass-Donnelly will be among the 10 filmmakers honoured Sunday at a morning reception during the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Director Denis Villeneuve's Incendies is Canada's official submission for Oscar consideration in the best foreign film category. ((Chris Young/Canadian Press))
Villeneuve, known for films such as Polytechnique, will continue the Canadian theatrical release of his searing family drama Incendies this month. 

The film, based on Wajdi Mouawad's acclaimed play of the same name, was also selected as Canada's official bid for the forthcoming Academy Award for best foreign film.

Lussier, the former horror editor-turned-director of movies such as My Bloody Valentine 3D, will release his latest — the supernatural revenge thriller Drive Angry, starring Nicholas Cage — in Feburary.

Gass-Donnelly's new film, the crime and redemption tale Small Town Murder Songs, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and went on to acclaim on the international festival circuit. It will open in select Canadian cities in February. The cast of the contemporary story includes Peter Stormare, Aaron Poole, Jill Hennessey, Martha Plimpton and the late Jackie Burroughs in her final role.

Making the Variety list "has been a wonderful end to a fantastic year," Gass-Donnelly said in a statement.

"I am deeply honoured that Variety somehow thought to include me amongst such prestigious ranks."

Rounding out Variety's list — which in previous years has singled out the directorial efforts of Christopher Nolan, Fernando Meirelles, George Clooney and Sarah Polley — are:

  • Richard Ayoade, Submarine.
  • Daniel Espinosa, Snabba Cash (Easy Money), Safe House.
  • Elgin James, Little Birds.
  • Baran Bo Odar, The Silence.
  • Andre Ovredal, The Troll Hunter.
  • Juanita Wilson, As If I Am Not There.
  • Jason Winer, Arthur.

Each filmmaker will also be profiled in Variety's Directors to Watch issue, released on Friday.

Director Patrick Lussier speaks at a San Diego Comic Con panel for Drive Angry 3D at the San Diego Convention Center in July 2010. ((Kevin Winter/Getty Images))

With files from The Canadian Press