Famous Canadian Directors

If you are a movie buff or have an affinity for watching movies from across the globe, you would agree that film-watching wouldn’t be complete unless you have seen Canadian movies like ‘Jesus of Montreal’, ‘Mon oncle Antoine’, ‘Goin’ Down the Road’, ‘Les Ordres’ or even ‘Dead Ringers’. These are some of the classic cult Canadian films that every movie buff should watch. Having said that, it is only natural to think what would these movies had been, if not for their directors! A director is often the unsung hero of a film – you appreciate an actor for his on-screen performance, a singer for his songs, music director for the music, choreographer for the dance moves and the art director for the fights. But all those wouldn’t have meant anything if not for a director’s vision! Directors are the backbone of every film – they are the reason why a unit comes together on the floor and works hard to come up with a film. It is a director’s dream and his visualizations that get enlivened on the camera roll. Canada has a pool of visionary directors who have put to canvas some masterpieces that are hard to beat, be it Claude Jutra, Atom Egoyan, Don Shebib, Denys Arcand or Ted Kotcheff. With this section, explore the life and career of top Canadian directors.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Canadian Directors

 1 
James Cameron
(Filmmaker)

James Cameron
7
Birthdate: August 16, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kapuskasing, Canada

Canadian film director, producer, and screenwriter James Cameron is best known for making science fiction and epic films. He is the co-founder of the production companies Lightstorm Entertainment and Digital Domain. Time magazine named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. He is also an environmentalist.

 2 
Dan Levy
(Actor and Comedian Best Known for His Role of 'David Rose' on the CBC Sitcom 'Schitt’s Creek')

Dan Levy
4
Birthdate: August 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Best known as David Rose from Schitt's Creek, Dan Levy, the son of actor Eugene Levy, is an Emmy-winning Canadian actor, who has also been a writer, producer, and director. He came out as gay at 18 but only made it known to the media in a 2020 interview.

 3 
David Cronenberg
(Film Director Known for Body Horror Genre Films Such as 'Shivers', 'Scanners' and 'Videodrome')

David Cronenberg
4
Birthdate: March 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

David Cronenberg is a Canadian actor, film director, and screenwriter. He is considered a pioneer in what is known as the body horror genre. His films have earned numerous awards, and he has both earned critical acclaim and sparked controversy due to the nature of his work. He often collaborates with fellow actor Viggo Mortensen. 

Recommended Lists:

 4 
Ivan Reitman
(Director Known for His Comedy Film ‘Ghostbusters’ & Owner of the ‘Montecito Picture Company')

Ivan Reitman
3
Birthdate: October 27, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Komárno, Czechoslovakia
Died: February 12, 2022

Ivan Reitman is a screenwriter and film and TV producer and director. He is a co-owner of The Montecito Picture Company. He attended McMaster University, where he studied music. After being fired from his first job at a TV channel, he went on to produce stage productions. Later on, he began producing films as well. 

Recommended Lists:

 5 
Avan Jogia
(Actor)

Avan Jogia
5
Birthdate: February 9, 1992
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

Avan Jogia is a Canadian actor and singer. He gained recognition with his performance in the American biographical TV film A Girl Like Me. Also an activist, Jogia co-founded Straight But Not Narrow, a non-profit organization which aims at changing the viewpoints of straight people about the LGBTQ community. Not surprisingly, he is loved and respected within the LGBT community.

 6 
Denis Villeneuve
(Film Director, Screenwriter, Playwright)

Denis Villeneuve
4
Birthdate: October 3, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada

Known for directing critically acclaimed movies, such as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve was adjudged Filmmaker of the Decade in 2019 by the Hollywood Critics Association. One of the most popular and respected filmmakers of the current generation, Denis Villeneuve's films have had a major impact all over the world.

 7 
Amy Jo Johnson
(Known for Her Roles as ‘Kimberly Hart’ on ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’, ‘Julie Emrick’ on ‘Felicity’)

Amy Jo Johnson
6
Birthdate: October 6, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dennis, Massachusetts, United States

Amy Jo Johnson is an American-Canadian filmmaker, actress, singer, and songwriter. Over the years, Johnson has been honored at several important film festivals including Long Island Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. A multi-talented personality, Amy Jo Johnson has also directed a couple of films like Tammy's Always Dying and The Space Between.

You May Like

 8 
Tosca Musk
(Filmmaker)

Tosca Musk
4
Birthdate: July 20, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: South Africa

South African filmmaker, Tosca Musk, has produced and directed several TV programs, films, and web series. Beginning her career in the early 2000s, she teamed up with Jeff Macpherson to produce the web series, Tiki Bar TV. Her movie, Simple Things, received the California Independent Film Festival Slate Award. She is also the founder of the streaming service Passionflix.

 9 
George A. Romero
(Film Director Known for His Iconic Horror Films: ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘Dawn of the Dead’)

George A. Romero
3
Birthdate: February 4, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States
Died: July 16, 2017

Legendary horror filmmaker George A. Romero is best known for his Night of the Living Dead series and for popularizing the zombie film genre. He also gained fame for his collaborations with horror novelist Stephen King, the most notable of them being the film version of King’s novel The Dark Half.

 10 
Jason Reitman
(Actor, Film director)

Jason Reitman
3
Birthdate: October 19, 1977
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Jason Reitman, a Canadian-American film director, is best known for directing the films such as Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, and Young Adult.  Also a screenwriter, producer, and actor, Reitman has received one Grammy Award, one Golden Globe, and four Academy Award nominations. 

 11 
Jared Keeso
(Best Known for Creating and Starring in the Comedy Series 'Letterkenny')

Jared Keeso
3
Birthdate: July 1, 1984
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Listowel, Canada
Canadian actor Jared Keeso is best known for his Canadian Screen Award-winning role of Ben Chartier in the series 19-2. He also created and appeared in the award-winning comedy series Letterkenny. Fans also loved him as Don Cherry in two TV films. He played junior hockey before venturing into films.

 12 
Neill Blomkamp
(Director Known for the Science Fiction Films ‘District 9’, ‘Elysium’ and ‘Chappie')

Neill Blomkamp
3
Birthdate: September 17, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa

Born in South Africa, Neill Blomkamp later moved to Canada. He began his career as a 3-D and special effects artist and later turned to direction. He is known for his documentary-style filmmaking that uses the cinéma vérité technique. Two of his best-known sci-fi films are District 9 and Elysium.

 13 
Shawn Levy
(Director Best Known for His Films: 'Night at the Museum' Series, 'Cheaper by the Dozen' and 'Real Steel')

Shawn Levy
3
Birthdate: July 23, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Shawn Levy is a Canadian film director, producer, and actor. He has directed films, such as Big Fat Liar, Cheaper by the Dozen and the Night at the Museum series. He bagged an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture for producing the 2016 sci-fi film Arrival. Levy has also been one of the executive producers of the Netflix original series Stranger Things

 14 
Sarah Polley
(Actress, Director)

Sarah Polley
3
Birthdate: January 8, 1979
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 15 
David Furnish
(Filmmaker)

David Furnish
6
Birthdate: October 25, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Canadian filmmaker and former advertising executive David Furnish is an alumnus of the University of Western Ontario in London. He is openly gay and is married to English musician Sir Elton John. Along with his husband, he is co-chief of Rocket Pictures, a film production company. He also serves on the board of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

 16 
Seth Rogen
(Actor and Comedian Popular for Starring in Films Like ‘Neighbors,’ and ‘Knocked Up’)

Seth Rogen
0
Birthdate: April 15, 1982
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

Canadian actor Seth Rogen established himself as a bankable and popular comic actor when he starred in Hollywood films Knocked Up in 2007 and Funny People in 2009. His other notable films are Steve Jobs, The Interview, Like Father, Long Shot and An American Pickle. He is active in raising awareness about Alzheimer's disease and is an open marijuana user.

 17 
Xavier Dolan
(Director Known for His Films 'I Killed My Mother', ‘It’s Only the End of the World ' and ‘Mommy’)

Xavier Dolan
3
Birthdate: March 20, 1989
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan, the son of actor-singer Manuel Tadros, first gained fame with his directorial debut, I Killed My Mother, at 19. He later won the Jury Prize at Cannes with his film Mommy. He has also dubbed for Ron Weasley in the French versions of Harry Potter films.

 18 
Amanda Tapping
(Actress, director best known for portraying Samantha Carter in the Canadian–American military science fiction television series Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Universe)

Amanda Tapping
3
Birthdate: August 28, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rochford, Essex, England, United Kingdom

 19 

Joanna Gleason
3
Birthdate: June 2, 1950
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Joanna Gleason is a singer and actress best known for her portrayal of the Baker's Wife in Stephen Sondheim's musical Into the Woods for which she was honored with the Tony Award. Renowned for her musical theatre and stage work, Gleason was also honored with a Special Award for Achievement in Theatre by the New England Theatre Conference in 2007.

 20 
Paul Haggis
(Director, screenwriter, and producer who won the Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture for the 2004 film Crash)

Paul Haggis
3
Birthdate: March 10, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ontario, Canada

 21 
Evan Goldberg
(Known for Co-writing & Co-directing ‘This Is the End’ and ‘The Interview’ with Longtime Collaborator ‘Seth Rogen')

Evan Goldberg
3
Birthdate: September 15, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

Evan Goldberg is a Canadian screenwriter, comedian, and film and TV producer, and director.  He attended Point Grey Secondary School, where he befriended future actor Seth Rogen. The two men often collaborate and have worked together on projects, such as Superbad, Pineapple Express, and This Is the End. They won a Canadian Comedy Award for Superbad. 

 

 22 
Saul Rubinek
(Known for His Television Roles, Notably Artie Nielsen on Warehouse 13, Donny Douglas on Frasier)

Saul Rubinek
3
Birthdate: July 2, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wolfratshausen, Bavaria, Germany

Saul Rubinek is a German-born Canadian actor, director, and playwright. Encouraged to pursue acting by his parents, he enrolled at the Ottawa Little Theatre. After a successful Broadway career, he branched out to TV shows and films as well. He made his directorial debut with the black comedy film Jerry and Tom, earning a Sundance Film Festival award nomination. 

 23 
Paul Gross
(Known for His Lead Role as Constable Benton Fraser in the Television Series ‘Due South')

Paul Gross
3
Birthdate: April 30, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Paul Gross is a Canadian actor, director, producer, writer, and musician. He is best known for his association with the popular TV series Due South; in addition to playing the lead role of Constable Benton Fraser in the series, Gross also wrote and executive produced some of the episodes. Over the years, he has won many awards including Gemini Awards.

 24 
Leslie Hope
(Actress)

Leslie Hope
3
Birthdate: May 6, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Halifax Regional Municipality, Canada

Leslie Hope is a Canadian actress best known for her portrayal of Teri Bauer in the popular American action drama TV series, 24. Over the years, she has played an important role as an actress in both the Canadian and American entertainment industries. Apart from being an actress, Leslie Hope is also a director.

 25 
Norman Jewison
(Film director, Film producer, Actor, Screenwriter)

Norman Jewison
2
Birthdate: July 21, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto

 26 

Katherine Barrell
3
Birthdate: February 12, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 27 
Raymond Massey
(Canadian Actor, Known for His Commanding, Stage-Trained Voice)

Raymond Massey
3
Birthdate: August 30, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: July 29, 1983

Raymond Massey was a Canadian actor best remembered for his stage-trained voice. Massey earned an Academy Award nomination under the Best Actor category for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in the 1940 biographical historical drama film Abe Lincoln in Illinois. Massey has two stars on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to the film and TV industries.  

 28 

Jean-Marc Vallée
3
Birthdate: March 9, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
Died: December 25, 2021

 29 

Jonathan Crombie
3
Birthdate: October 12, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: April 15, 2015

 30 

Alexandre Trudeau
3
Birthdate: December 25, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa

The brother of former Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau and the brother of the current PM Justin Trudeau, Alexandre Trudeau is a documentary filmmaker and journalist who has covered events from Baghdad to the Balkans. He is also the author of Barbarian Lost, his reflection on his experiences in China.

 31 
William B. Davis
(Known for His Role as the 'Cigarette Smoking Man' on the TV Series 'X-Files')

William B. Davis
3
Birthdate: January 13, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

 32 

Tyler Hynes
2
Birthdate: May 6, 1986
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 33 
Crystal Lowe
(Actress)

Crystal Lowe
2
Birthdate: January 20, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

 34 
Hart Bochner
(Best Known for His Roles in the Movies: 'Die Hard', 'Breaking Away' and 'Rich and Famous')

Hart Bochner
2
Birthdate: October 3, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Hart Bochner is a Canadian actor, screenwriter, and filmmaker. He is known for playing prominent roles in films like Rich and Famous, Mad at the Moon, and Liberty Stands Still. Also known for his work on TV, Bochner has played important roles in popular TV series, such as War and Remembrance, The Starter Wife, and Too Old To Die Young.

 35 
Director X
(Director)

Director X
2
Birthdate: October 31, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

 36 
Suroosh Alvi
(Journalist and filmmaker known for co-founder of VICE Media)

Suroosh Alvi
3
Birthdate: March 26, 1969
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

Suroosh Alvi is a Canadian filmmaker and journalist of Pakistani origin. He is credited with co-founding a digital media and broadcasting company called Vice Media which is currently operating in over 50 countries. As a filmmaker, Suroosh Alvi has produced documentaries that deal with controversial issues, such as the Iraq War and the rise of global terrorism.

 37 
Atom Egoyan
(Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer)

Atom Egoyan
2
Birthdate: July 19, 1960
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt

 38 
Mary Harron
(Film director, Film producer)

Mary Harron
2
Birthdate: January 12, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada

 39 
Domee Shi
(Director, StoryBoard Artist)

Domee Shi
0
Birthdate: September 8, 1989
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chongqing, China

Born in China, Domee Shi moved to Canada with her parents at age 2. Inspired by her painter father and, later, by her interest in anime, she made animation her career. Now a well-known storyboard artist and director for Pixar, she is known for projects such as the Academy Award-winning short Bao.

 40 

David Hewlett
3
Birthdate: April 18, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Redhill, Surrey, England, UK

 41 
June Havoc
(Actress)

June Havoc
2
Birthdate: November 8, 1912
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada
Died: March 28, 2010

 42 
Panos Cosmatos
(Director and Screenwriter known for Beyond the Black Rainbow and Mandy)

Panos Cosmatos
0
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

 43 

Mike Clattenburg
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Cole Harbour, Canada

 44 
Arthur Hiller
(Film Director)

Arthur Hiller
2
Birthdate: November 22, 1923
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Edmonton, Canada
Died: August 17, 2016

 45 
Anna Silk
(Actress)

Anna Silk
2
Birthdate: January 31, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

 46 
Laurieann Gibson
(Choreographer)

Laurieann Gibson
2
Birthdate: July 14, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 47 
Roger Avary
(Screenwriter, Film director)

Roger Avary
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Flin Flon, Canada

 48 

Richard Williams
2
Birthdate: March 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Died: August 16, 2019

 49 

Steve Bacic
2
Birthdate: March 13, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lisicic, Croatia

 50 
Danny Antonucci
(Animator)

Danny Antonucci
2
Birthdate: February 27, 1957
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada