Top 90 Canadian Directors

by minalex | created - 11 Feb 2013 | updated - 6 hours ago | Public

1. Bruce Bairnsfather

Writer | Carry on, Sergeant!

Bruce Bairnsfather was born on July 9, 1887 in Murree, Punjab, British India as Charles Bruce Bairnsfather. He was a writer and director, known for Carry on, Sergeant! (1928), The Better 'Ole (1926) and Old Bill and Son (1941). He died on September 29, 1959 in Worcester, Worcestershire, England.

A British cartoonist and director who worked in Canada and made Carry on, Sergeant! (1928)

2. Daniel Petrie

Director | A Raisin in the Sun

Daniel Petrie was born on November 26, 1920 in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada as Daniel Mannix Petrie. He was a director and producer, known for A Raisin in the Sun (1961), The Bay Boy (1984) and Resurrection (1980). He was married to Dorothea G. Petrie. He died on August 22, 2004 in Los Angeles, ...

3. Pierre Perrault

Director | Pour la suite du monde

Born in Montreal, Québec, Pierre Perrault went to law school before turning is attention to the cinema. Concerned more by real life then fiction, he makes movies in the 'cinéma direct' style. He filmed real people in real life situations listening to what they have to say and looking at how they do...

4. Wolf Koenig

Cinematographer | Stravinsky

Wolf Koenig was born on October 17, 1927 in Dresden, Saxony, Germany. He was a producer and cinematographer, known for Stravinsky (1965), City of Gold (1957) and Lonely Boy (1963). He died on June 26, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

5. Don Owen

Director | The Ernie Game

Don Owen was born on September 19, 1931 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was a director and writer, known for The Ernie Game (1967), High Steel (1966) and Unfinished Business (1984). He died on February 21, 2016 in Toronto.

6. Gilles Groulx

Director | Entre tu et vous

Gilles Groulx was born on May 30, 1931 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He was an editor and director, known for Entre tu et vous (1970), Où êtes-vous donc? (1970) and Au pays de Zom (1983). He died on August 22, 1994 in Longueuil, Québec, Canada.

7. Sidney J. Furie

Director | Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Toronto-born Sidney J. Furie has enjoyed an incredibly distinguished career that has spanned more than five decades. Having dabbled in every genre, Furie has directed films starring Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Robert Redford, Diana Ross, Michael Caine, Peter O'Toole, Rodney Dangerfield, Barbara ...

8. Norman Jewison

Director | In the Heat of the Night

Norman Frederick Jewison was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Dorothy Irene (Weaver) and Percy Joseph Jewison, who managed a post office and a convenience store. His mother was an English immigrant, and his father was of English and Ulster-Scots descent. Jewison got his BA at Victoria College, ...

9. Michael Snow

Director | Wavelength

Central figure of the American avant-garde. An artist who made an isolated animated short, A to Z (1956), Snow concentrated on his painting career until moving to New York in 1963. After attending avant-garde film screenings organized by critic-filmmaker Jonas Mekas and turning out a second film, ...

10. Norman McLaren

Producer | Neighbours

Norman McClaren is one of the most awarded filmmakers in the history of Canadian cinema, and a pioneer in both animation and filmmaking. Born in Scotland, he entered the Glasgow School of Fine Arts in 1932 to study set design. His early experiments in animation included actually scratching and ...

11. George Dunning

Director | Yellow Submarine

George Dunning was born on November 17, 1920 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was a producer and director, known for Yellow Submarine (1968), The Flying Man (1962) and Family Tree (1950). He died on February 15, 1979 in London, England.

12. Allan King

Director | Dying at Grace

Allan King was born on February 6, 1930 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He was a director and producer, known for Dying at Grace (2003), Warrendale (1967) and Avonlea (1990). He was married to Colleen Murphy. He died on June 15, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

13. Donald Shebib

Director | Goin' Down the Road

Donald Shebib was born on January 17, 1938 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a director and editor, known for Goin' Down the Road (1970), Down the Road Again (2011) and Good Times Bad Times (1969).

14. Jack Chambers

Director | The Hart of London

Jack Chambers was born on March 25, 1931 in London, Ontario, Canada. He was a director and cinematographer, known for The Hart of London (1970), Hybrid (1967) and Little Red Riding Hood (1965). He died on April 13, 1978 in London.

15. Arthur Hiller

Director | Love Story

Arthur Hiller was born on November 22, 1923 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He was a director and actor, known for Love Story (1970), The Hospital (1971) and See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989). He was married to Gwen Hiller. He died on August 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

16. Ted Kotcheff

Director | Weekend at Bernie's

William Theodore Kotcheff was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Bulgarian parents from Plovdiv. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Toronto. He began his professional career directing TV drama at age 24 at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, at the time ...

17. Claude Jutra

Director | Mon oncle Antoine

He finished his medical studies at the age of 22 to please his parents, but he was already developing an attraction to the visual arts and to cinema. As a teenager, he had made two shorts with Michel Brault. In 1953, he wrote a television script. He joined the Office national du film du Canada (...

18. Alan Gibson

Director | Play for Today

Canadian television director, active in Britain from the mid-1960's. Noted for a couple of entries into the Dracula cycle in the 1970's.

19. Michel Brault

Cinematographer | Pour la suite du monde

Michel Brault was born on June 25, 1928 in Montréal, Québec, Canada. He was a cinematographer and director, known for Pour la suite du monde (1963), Orderers (1974) and Threshold (1981). He died on September 21, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

20. Francis Mankiewicz

Director | Les portes tournantes

A distant relative of Herman and Joseph Mankiewicz, Francis was born in Shangaï in 1944. In 1945, his family moved to Montreal, where Francis would spend all his childhood. In the sixties, he graduated in Geology from Montreal University and worked in the woods for a while before realizing geology ...

21. Peter Medak

Director | The Krays

Peter Medak is an international Film Director. Born in Budapest, Hungary and fled to England at the age of 18 during the famous uprising against the communist regime. He immediately began his Film career with associated British Picture Corporation in Borehamwood. He studied and worked his way ...

A Hungarian director who has worked in Canada and made The Changeling (1980)

22. Julien Poulin

Actor | Elvis Gratton

Julien Poulin was born on April 20, 1946 in Montréal, Québec, Canada. He is an actor and director, known for Elvis Gratton (1981), Elvis Gratton: Le king des kings (1985) and Taking Lives (2004).

23. R. Bruce Elder

Director | The Art of Worldly Wisdom

R. Bruce Elder was born on June 11, 1947 in Hawkesbury, Ontario, Canada. He is a director and cinematographer, known for The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1979), Lamentations a Monument for the Dead World (1985) and Illuminated Texts (1982).

24. Phillip Borsos

Director | The Grey Fox

A leading Canadian filmmaker, Phillip Borsos has enjoyed considerable success in international markets. One of the "Vancouver School", he began his career as a director (and sometime producer and writer) with several short subjects, beginning with Cooperage (1976). Nails (1979), which Borsos also ...

25. Daryl Duke

Director | The Silent Partner

Daryl Duke was born on March 8, 1929 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada as Daryl James Duke. He was a director and producer, known for The Silent Partner (1978), Payday (1973) and The Bold Ones: The Senator (1970). He was married to Anne-marie Dekker. He died on October 21, 2006 in West ...

26. Rick Moranis

Actor | Spaceballs

Rick began his career as a radio DJ while he was still at high school which led to him writing, producing and being on air in his own show. He joined the Canadian TV series SCTV (1976) winning an Emmy for writing and portraying the character Bob McKenzie which became the basis for the film _Strange...

27. Dave Thomas

Writer | The Blacklist

Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, Dave was the eldest son of John and Moreen Thomas. John Thomas (deceased) was a PHD in Philosophy (Duke), noted medical ethicist, head of Philosophy Department at McMaster University, and author of several books including: "Matters of Life and Death," "Well ...

28. David Mitchell

Producer | Thunderground

David Mitchell is a producer and editor, known for Thunderground (1989), City of Shadows (1987) and The Killing Machine (1994).

29. André Forcier

Director | Le vent du Wyoming

André Forcier was born on July 19, 1947. He is a director and writer, known for A Wind from Wyoming (1994), Coteau Rouge (2011) and Une histoire inventée (1990).

30. Sandy Wilson

Director | My American Cousin

Sandy Wilson was born in 1947 in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. She is a director and writer, known for My American Cousin (1985), Harmony Cats (1992) and American Boyfriends (1989).

31. Kevin Sullivan

Producer | Anne of Green Gables

Kevin Sullivan was born as Kevin Roderick Sullivan. He is a producer and writer, known for Anne of Green Gables (1985), Avonlea (1990) and Anne of Avonlea (1987). He is married to Trudy Grant.

32. Pierre Falardeau

Director | Elvis Gratton

Pierre Falardeau was born on December 28, 1946 in Montréal, Québec, Canada as Pierre Guillaume Falardeau. He was a director and writer, known for Elvis Gratton (1981), Le party (1990) and Le temps des bouffons (1993). He was married to Manon Leriche. He died on September 25, 2009 in Montréal.

33. Patricia Rozema

Director | Into the Forest

Patricia Rozema was born on August 20, 1958 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She is a director and writer, known for Into the Forest (2015), Mansfield Park (1999) and Grey Gardens (2009).

34. David Cronenberg

Director | The Fly

David Cronenberg, also known as the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of Blood, was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1943. His father, Milton Cronenberg, was a journalist and editor, and his mother, Esther (Sumberg), was a piano player. After showing an inclination for literature at an early...

35. William D. MacGillivray

Director | Life Classes

William D. MacGillivray was born in 1946 in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. He is a director and writer, known for Life Classes (1988), Understanding Bliss (1990) and The Man of a Thousand Songs (2010).

36. Sandor Stern

Writer | The Mod Squad

Born in the northern Canadian town of Timmins, Ontario; raised in the small town of Prescott, Ontario, on the St. Lawrence River; Sandor Stern was drawn to short story writing while in high school and began writing stage plays while attending the University of Toronto. Though he planned to obtain a...

37. Neil Affleck

Actor | My Bloody Valentine

Neil Affleck was born in 1953 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is known for his work on My Bloody Valentine (1981), Scanners (1981) and The Simpsons Movie (2007).

38. Allan Moyle

Director | Pump Up the Volume

Unconventional filmmaker who moved from independent cinema into the Hollywood mainstream. Moyle became a sought-after writer-director after the surprising success of Pump Up the Volume (1990), a sleeper hit about teen angst starring Christian Slater. His previous directorial outing occurred a full ...

40. Daniel Petrie Jr.

Writer | Beverly Hills Cop

Daniel Petrie Jr. was born in 1952. He is a producer and writer, known for Beverly Hills Cop (1984), The Big Easy (1986) and Toy Soldiers (1991).

41. Jean-Claude Lauzon

Director | Léolo

Lauzon came from a humble family and he worked in many different jobs, until he obtained a title in Communications, and went to Los Angeles to study cinema, in the late 70s. He made some shortcuts, the majority of which received awards, and then two films which also won many prizes and established ...

42. John N. Smith

Director | The Boys of St. Vincent

John N. Smith was born on July 31, 1943 in Montréal, Quebec, Canada. He is a director and producer, known for The Boys of St. Vincent (1992), Sitting in Limbo (1986) and Train of Dreams (1987).

43. Ivan Reitman

Producer | Up in the Air

Ivan Reitman, as a producer and director, has created many of American cinema's most successful and best loved feature film comedies and has worked with Hollywood's acting elite. Reitman has produced such hits as the ground-breaking sensation National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), which introduced ...

44. Stephen Surjik

Director | Intelligence

Stephen Surjik is a director and producer, known for Intelligence (2005), Da Vinci's Inquest (1998) and Warehouse 13 (2009).

45. François Girard

Director | Le violon rouge

François Girard was born in Quebec in 1963. Best known for his movie writing and directing (Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould, The red Violin, Silk...), Girard also directed a number of plays and operas including PARSIFAL at the Metropolitan Opera. He also wrote and directed two Cirque du ...

46. Robert Lieberman

Director | The Expanse

Robert Lieberman is the director of D3:The Mighty Ducks, the third edition of one of Disney's more successful franchises. He started his feature career back in 1982 directing Jon Voight in Table For Five, fresh off his Best Actor Oscar for Coming Home and over the intervening almost twenty years ...

47. Atom Egoyan

Director | The Sweet Hereafter

Born in Egypt to Armenian parents, he was raised in Western Canada. Both his parents were painters, and he planned to be a playwright, but after making a short film, he became hooked on telling stories visually. Returned to ethnic "homeland" when he filmed Calendar (1993) in Armenia. Won attention ...

48. Robert Lepage

Actor | La face cachée de la lune

Robert Lepage is one of the foremost stage directors today and a leading figure in the Canadian avant garde, attracting particular attention for his multimedia-rich theatrical presentations as well as his innovative work with Shakespearian drama and opera.

49. Christian Duguay

Director | Human Trafficking

Christian Duguay was born in 1957 in Outremont, Québec, Canada. He is a director and assistant director, known for Human Trafficking (2005), The Art of War (2000) and Rouge Brésil (2012).

50. Jeremiah S. Chechik

Director | Benny & Joon

Jeremiah S. Chechik was born in 1955 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a director and producer, known for Benny & Joon (1993), National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) and Gossip Girl (2007).

51. John Greyson

Director | Lilies - Les feluettes

John Greyson was born in 1960 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a director, known for Lilies - Les feluettes (1996), Fig Trees (2009) and Zero Patience (1993).

52. James Cameron

Writer | Avatar

James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States in 1971. The son of an engineer, he majored in physics at California State University before switching to English, and eventually dropping out. He then drove a truck to support his ...

53. Don McKellar

Actor | Last Night

Don McKellar was born on August 17, 1963 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is an actor and director, known for Last Night (1998), Blindness (2008) and The Red Violin (1998). He was previously married to Tracy Wright.

54. Jeremy Podeswa

Director | Game of Thrones

Jeremy Podeswa was born in 1962 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a director, known for Game of Thrones (2011), Boardwalk Empire (2010) and Fugitive Pieces (2007).

55. Anne Wheeler

Director | Cowboys Don't Cry

Born in Alberta, to a doctor father and musician mother, Anne earned degrees in mathematics and music, putting her way through university as a performer. She came to film-making after working and traveling around the world for a couple of years, exploring Europe, Asia and Africa. She returned home ...

56. Mary Harron

Director | American Psycho

Mary Harron was born on January 12, 1953 in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. She is a director and producer, known for American Psycho (2000), I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) and The Moth Diaries (2011). She has been married to John Walsh since August 15, 1998. They have two children.

57. David Steinberg

Director | Curb Your Enthusiasm

Comedian David Steinberg, born in 1942, grew up in Winnipeg, Canada. He left home to attend the University of Chicago. The family moved to Chicago when he was a teen. It was there that he saw a performance by the Second City Chicago Troupe and it changed the course of his life. With another student...

58. Zacharias Kunuk

Director | Atanarjuat

Zacharias Kunuk was born on November 27, 1957 in Kapuivik, Nunavut, Canada. He is a director and producer, known for Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001), The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006) and Searchers (2016).

59. Allan Kroeker

Director | Tramp at the Door

He directed episodes of both The Twilight Zone (1985) and The Twilight Zone (2002).

60. Brad Armstrong

Director | Euphoria

Canadian-born Brad Armstrong's career was initially determined while he was still in college, where he majored in commercial art and advertising. He soon began his adventures in adult-film production while simultaneously establishing himself as one of the adult industry's most in-demand performers....

61. Kari Skogland

Director | Fifty Dead Men Walking

Award-winning director and show runner Kari Skogland is CEO of Mad Rabbit, a joint venture between her and Red Arrow Entertainment Group. As CEO, Skogland is committed to producing high-end one-hour dramas for the international market for the company, which launched in Spring 2016.

Named by ...

62. Clement Virgo

Producer | Greenleaf

Clement Virgo is one of Canada's foremost film directors. In 2015 he directed and co-wrote a six part miniseries adaptation of the Lawrence Hill novel The Book of Negroes (2015) which debuted to record-breaking numbers on the CBC in Canada and on BET in the U.S. and won twelve Canadian Screen ...

63. Roger Avary

Producer | The Rules of Attraction

Award-winning filmmaker Roger Avary first began experimenting in Beta I video and 8mm film formats during the late 1970s. In 1983, his Super-8mm supernatural thriller The Worm Turns won Best Film from the Los Angeles Film Teachers Association Film Expo. He went on to attend the Pasadena Art Center ...

64. Denys Arcand

Writer | Les invasions barbares

One of Québec's most politically aware filmmakers, Denys Arcand studied history at Université de Montréal, where he co-directed Seul ou avec d'autres (1962) with Denis Héroux and co-written with Stéphane Venne. He joined the National Film Board (NFB) in 1963, where his feature-length documentary on...

67. Michael Dowse

Director | It's All Gone Pete Tong

Michael Dowse was born on April 19, 1973 in London, Ontario, Canada. He is a director and writer, known for It's All Gone Pete Tong (2004), What If (2013) and Goon (2011).

68. Vincenzo Natali

Director | Cube

Vincenzo Natali was born on January 6, 1969 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. He is known for his work on Cube (1997), Cypher (2002) and Splice (2009).

69. Paul Haggis

Writer | Crash

Paul Haggis is the award-winning filmmaker who, in 2006, became the first screenwriter to write two Best Film Oscar winners back-to-back - Million Dollar Baby (2004) directed by Clint Eastwood, and Crash (2004) which he himself directed. For Crash (2004), he won Academy Awards for Best Picture and ...

70. Guy Maddin

Director | The Saddest Music in the World

Guy Maddin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to Herdis Maddin (a hair-dresser) and Charles "Chas" Maddin (grain clerk and general manager of the Maroons, a Winnipeg hockey team). Maddin studied economics at the University of Winnipeg, working as a bank manager, house painter, and photographic...

71. Sacha Gervasi

Producer | Anvil: The Story of Anvil

Sacha Gervasi was born in 1966 in London, England. He is a writer and producer, known for Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008), Hitchcock (2012) and The Terminal (2004). He has been married to Jessica de Rothschild since 2010.

72. Jason Reitman

Producer | Up in the Air

Jason Reitman was born on October 19, 1977 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Up in the Air (2009), Thank You for Smoking (2005) and Juno (2007). He was previously married to Michele Lee.

73. Patrick Lussier

Editor | My Bloody Valentine

Patrick Lussier is known for his work on My Bloody Valentine (2009), Terminator Genisys (2015) and Scream (1996).

74. Dean DeBlois

Writer | How to Train Your Dragon 2

Dean DeBlois is a Canadian writer, director, and producer known best for having co-written and co-directed Disney's Lilo & Stitch (2002) and Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon (2010), both Oscar nominated. While working as an assistant animator and layout artist for Hinton Animation Studios ...

75. Richard J. Lewis

Producer | CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Richard J. Lewis is a producer and director, known for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000), Barney's Version (2010) and Westworld (2016).

76. George Hickenlooper

Director | Dogtown

George Hickenlooper graduated from Yale University in 1986. He was born on May 25, 1963 in St. Louis, Missouri and raised there, Boston, and San Francisco. His interest in film began in childhood and stemmed from his great-uncle's (Leopold Stokowski) involvement in the movie Fantasia (1940). ...

The American director has worked in Canada where he made Casino Jack (2010)

78. Jean-Marc Vallée

Director | C.R.A.Z.Y.

Jean-Marc Vallée was born on March 9, 1963 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a director and producer, known for C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005), Dallas Buyers Club (2013) and Wild (2014).

79. Philippe Falardeau

Director | Monsieur Lazhar

After studying Canadian politics and international relations, Philippe Falardeau was chosen in 1993 as a contestant for the popular TV series La course destination monde (1988) (a contest were the participants tour the world making short films). There, he shot 20 films and ended up winning the race...

80. Sarah Polley

Actress | Dawn of the Dead

Sarah Polley is an actress and director renowned in her native Canada for her political activism. Blessed with an extremely expressive face that enables directors to minimize dialog due to her uncanny ability to suggest a character's thoughts, Polley has become a favorite of critics for her ...

81. Brad Turner

Director | 24

Brad Turner is a director and producer, known for 24 (2001), Homeland (2011) and Designated Survivor (2016).

82. Michelle MacLaren

Producer | Breaking Bad

Michelle MacLaren was born in 1965 in Canada. She is a producer and director, known for Breaking Bad (2008), The Walking Dead (2010) and Game of Thrones (2011).

83. Shawn Levy

Producer | Arrival

Shawn Levy was born on July 23, 1968 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is a producer and director, known for Stranger Things (2016), Real Steel (2011), and the Night at the Museum franchise. He is the founder and principal of 21 Laps Entertainment. He is married to Serena Levy and they have four ...

84. Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette

Director | Inch'Allah

Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette is a director and writer, known for Inch'Allah (2012), Prends-moi (2014) and Le ring (2007).

85. Denis Villeneuve

Director | Arrival

Denis Villeneuve is a French Canadian film director and writer. He was born in 1967, in Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada. He started his career as a filmmaker at the National Film Board of Canada. He is best known for his feature films Arrival (2016), Sicario (2015), Prisoners (2013), Enemy (2013), ...

86. David Soren

Writer | Turbo

David Soren is a director, writer, and actor known for Captain Underpants (2017), Turbo (2013), and Merry Madagascar (2009). A DreamWorks veteran of twenty years, Soren has worked as a story artist on "The Road to El Dorado," "Chicken Run" and "Shrek." He then served as the head of story on the hit...

87. Ken Scott

Writer | Delivery Man

Ken Scott is a writer and director, known for Delivery Man (2013), Starbuck (2011) and La grande séduction (2003).

88. Xavier Dolan

Actor | Tom à la ferme

Xavier Dolan was born on March 20, 1989 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as Xavier Dolan-Tadros. He is an actor and writer, known for Tom à la ferme (2013), I Killed My Mother (2009) and Heartbeats (2010).

90. Nisha Ganatra

Director | Chutney Popcorn

Nisha Ganatra was born in Vancouver, Canada, and raised in California in a traditional household.

Ganatra is a graduate of the prestigious New York University (NYU) film school, where she studied with Martin Scorcese, Barbara Kopple, and Spike Lee. Chutney Popcorn (1999) was her feature film debut.