TIFF 2020: These Are the Up-and-Coming Canadian Actors to Know

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From Eli Goree in One Night in Miami to Kiawentiio Tarbell in Beans, these are the actors everyone was talking about at TIFF 2020.

The 2020 Toronto International Film Festival wrapped up last weekend, and although it contained a reduced list of 50 films (up from over 300 last year), there were still plenty of trending films left. . And in some of TIFF 2020’s most acclaimed titles, several up-and-coming Canadian actors. Read on to learn more about the rising stars emerging from the festival this year. And familiarize yourself with their faces – you will see a lot of them in the future.

Eli Goree

Playing Cassius Clay – later known as Muhammad Ali – in Regina King’s first feature film One night in Miami, Eli Goree, born in Halifax, is pure boastful and confident. The actor has already appeared in the Jesse Owens biopic Race (starring another rising Canadian star, Stephan James) and currently plays a recurring role on Riverdale, but it’s that movie – in which Ali reunites with Sam Cooke, Malcolm X and Jim Brown to celebrate his victory at the World Heavyweight Championship in Miami – that is sure to propel Gorée to stardom. Turns out his performance as Ali has been going on for years. He first began preparing to play the sports legend in hopes of landing the lead role in an Ang Lee movie which was later shelved. But Gorée, for whom it was a lifelong dream to play Ali, has never stopped training. “I was like ‘I’m going to keep working on this because at some point there will be another opportunity to play Cassius and I want to be prepared,’” he told us over the phone. This opportunity came soon enough, and Gorée doubled down on his training even more, working with boxing instructors and dialect coaches to nail the pace and pace of the American icon. “You can never fully imitate someone who has been the best at what they have done, but you want to honor and respect them, and create a sense of authenticity so that people are not excluded from it. ‘history. It was a great company and I really gave it my all.

Kiawentiio Tarbell

Director Tracey Deere was a young girl during the Oka Crisis in 1990, when Quebec police clashed with Mohawk communities trying to protect their cemetery from the expansion of a nearby golf course. His experiences during this chaotic time formed the basis of his first feature film, Beans. Kiawentiio Tarbell, the 14-year-old Mohawk actress (whom viewers might recognize from her stint on Anne with an E) plays the main character, whose life is turned upside down during the crisis. “It’s really crazy that this has happened, I don’t understand how people could have done this to anyone,” said Tarbell, who had heard about the crisis growing up, over the phone. “Hearing it from a personal point of view like Tracey’s is a lot to understand. I was a little nervous at first. I knew there was a lot of trauma and a lot of the things I had to do were uncomfortable. But Tracey made sure I knew it would be a safe space. An avid songwriter, Tarbell also worked on a song throughout filming, which eventually made its way to the end credits of the film. “The song is about overcoming difficult things. I wanted it to be empowering, because Beans as a character is really empowering and she’s a symbol of resistance.

Madeleine Sims-Less

Born in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Madeleine Sims-Fewer moved with her family to the UK when she was just two years old. As an adult, she returned to Canada to study film at York University in Toronto. In 2015, she met her compatriot Dusty Mancinelli in a Talent Lab at TIFF, and the duo have since created three short films and one feature film, Violation, which premiered at TIFF 2020. “We’re interested in complex and nuanced characters, not black and white and one-sided,” she said over the phone. “There is a line [a character] said in Violation: “Everyone is half-shit”. And that’s something we really like. Sexual assault is a common thread running through their experimental films and helping filmmakers deal with complicated emotions about their own experiences of abuse. For this particular movie, Sims-Fewer decided to go for the lead role because she knew she could push herself to achieve what the character needed to portray on screen. “I knew it was going to be incredibly demanding emotionally and physically, and I knew whoever was playing the role was going to be living in a really tough headspace for quite a long time. Read our full interview with Sims-Fewer here.

Courtesy of ONE PLUS ONE

Bahia Watson

The Winnipeg-born actress plays Brianna on The Handmaid’s Tale since season 1 and most recently appeared with Schitt ‘Creeks Noah Reid in Archivists, a dystopian short film in which society has decentralized and art has become illegal. The film, which premiered at TIFF last week, is not an edifying narrative but “makes us think about governance and what it is capable of in terms of limiting our access to the arts.” As a biracial woman, Watson often found herself getting audition calls for stereotypical characters like “ Shaniqua from the hood ” and decided that to appear in more fleshed out and complete projects she would just have to. to write them herself. . So in addition to performing (on stage and on screen), Watson also writes his own musical and theatrical productions. Read our full interview with the actress here.

Joel Oulette

18-year-old Cree actor Joel Oulette premiered two projects at TIFF this year: Monkey Beach, a supernatural film based on a novel by Eden Robinson, and Trickster, a CBC series also based on a Robinson story. Directed by Michelle Latimer, the series follows an Indigenous teenager, played by Oulette, who struggles to support her dysfunctional family amid myth, magic and monsters. “Few Indigenous children are represented,” Oulette said of the need for greater Indigenous representation on screen. “They don’t really see the potential that they could really have. I feel like I’m young and being on a TV show like this can really open their minds. Trickster begins airing on CBC on October 7.


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