Writer and director Andrew Cividino was born and raised in Dundas, Ontario. In the quiet shadow of the city of Hamilton, there was no shortage of mischief for him and his two brothers to get into. If you’ve seen Cividino’s debut feature film Sleeping Giant, you can see the ways his own experiences of long summers and restless youth has inspired his writing and filmmaking. The protagonists in his coming of age film are complicated. Like these teen boys in Sleeping Giant, Cividino recalls the social exclusion of his own adolescence, in which everyone, including himself, was both a victim and a perpetrator in their attempts to climb the social ladder.
In high school, Cividino began to care less about fitting in with a particular group, instead opening himself to new experiences and activities: football, student council, music, debate. His teachers pushed him to think more critically, to work harder, and to see the world around him for all its complexities. He credits them with giving him the tools he would carry into his adult life.
His interest in film began when Cividino was in grade ten. After his dad brought home a video camera, Cividino began shooting and using his computer skills to edit his home movies. From there it became more than a hobby — it became a passion. Throughout high school he would appeal to his teachers to be able to submit video projects instead of written essays. Film school was the natural progression given his love for the craft, so he applied to Ryerson’s film programme and was accepted.
Living in downtown Toronto was a big change from small-town life. Despite the overwhelming and stressful city environment, Cividino loved the experience. He developed a strong peer group, many of whom he continues to work with today. In fact, the crew ofSleeping Giant was made up of almost exclusively Ryerson graduates!
Sleeping Giant was chosen as the best Canadian feature film at the Vancouver International Film Festival and the best Canadian first feature film at the Toronto International Film Festival. Cividino’s life has changed now that he’s had an acclaimed film released and made Toronto his permanent home, but he still remains grounded and connected with his friends and family.
REEL CANADA screened Sleeping Giant in Sarnia and Toronto as part of National Canadian Film Day in 2016, and in North Vancouver, Thunder Bay and other Ontario locations as part of NCFD 150 in 2017. Cividino and other talented cast and crew from Sleeping Gianthave appeared at some of these events to speak about their experiences making the movie and to join us in celebrating Canadian film all across the country. We are excited to have Andrew Cividino as one of our RBC Emerging Artists!
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