The Filmmakers

Film Makers

Gary Burns


Gary Burns

“Suburbia is familiar territory to me. Some directors are interested in making genre movies – but even in film school I knew that I wanted to make films about what I know. I grew up in suburbia – and all my films, one way or another, are about that experience.”
- Gary Burns

Gary Burns’s cinematic gifts were established with his very first feature, The Suburbanators, which met with immediate praise from critics and public alike at its premiere at the 1995 Toronto International Film Festival. The Toronto film critics placed the film among the Best Canadian films of 1996, naming Burns as one of the year’s top ten Canadian directors and screenwriters. In addition to announcing an original new filmmaker, The Suburbanators also introduced viewers to the strange world of suburbia and its inhabitants – a universe that inspires and informs much of Burns’s work.

Burns returned to this cultural terrain with his second feature, Kitchen Party, which also premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival – where once again Burns met with critical acclaim. The New York Times called Kitchen Party “the funniest, nastiest, comedy of manners to come down the pike in months” when it was screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art as part of New Directors New Films.

Moving from strength to strength, Burns’s third feature film was waydowntown – which won the City Award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival. It went on to win the Best Canadian Feature at the Atlantic Film Festival and the Most Popular Canadian Film and Best Screenplay at the Vancouver International Film Festival. The National Post hailed it as “a deadpan, almost pitch-perfect comedy,” and The Village Voice called it “a palliative pharmaceutical rush!”

Burns returned to the Toronto International Film Festival in 2003 when A Problem with Fear opened the Perspective Canada program. The film was subsequently selected by the Berlin International Film Festival, where it opened the Panorama Special program in 2004.

Radiant City, produced by Burns Film Ltd in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada, is Burns’s first feature-length documentary, which he co-directs with journalist and first-time filmmaker Jim Brown. The subject – the issue of urban sprawl – is explored through the experience of one family negotiating the complexities of contemporary North American suburbia.