Ones to Watch: Meet The Rising Stars of Vancouver’s Film Scene

Stephanie Blakey, director

Origin Story: Blakey got her start early: as a kid she’d draw Sailor Moon fan animations on printer paper at her dad’s office. My parents would feed me NFB animated shorts and Disney movies, so it only made sense that I would end up in the field,” says the Vancouverite, who graduated from Emily Carr in 2010. She got a master’s degree in directing animation in the U.K. before returning to Vancouver in 2016 to join Atomic Cartoons, where she now works as a storyboard supervisor.

You Might Know Her From: Her animated film, The Butterfly Affect (not starring Ashton Kutcher), which tells the story of a worm trying to make it in a world built for butterflies, debuted at the Spark Animation Festival in October of last year.

Most Proud Of: “A film I did called The Last Resort. It did quite well in festivals, but it’s my proudest moment because it’s a horror comedy, and I attended a screening where someone sitting ahead of me literally slapped his knee at one of the jokes. So I have a verified knee-slapper of a joke in one of my films.”

Anthony Shim, writer/director

Origin Story: Born in Seoul, Korea, Shim emigrated with his family to Vancouver when he was eight years old. “We moved around a lot when I was a kid, so much so that by grade 7 I was enrolling in my seventh school,” he says. “I think it was during that time—often being the only visible minority, coming from a different culture, not being fluent in English, and always being the new kid at school—that shaped me into the artist that I am today.”

You Might Know Him From: Shim’s first feature film, Daughter, about a broken man trying to get over a tragic incident, recently premiered at VIFF as the BC Spotlight Gala film.

Coming Next: He’s currently writing a feature film about a Korean single mother raising a teenage boy in Vancouver while dealing with the challenges of being an immigrant in the ’90s.

Amy Goodmurphy, actor/writer/director/producer

Origin Story: “I joined a theatre class in high school and enjoyed it but I didn’t really have anybody in my life to tell me that this could actually be a career,” says North Vancouver native Goodmurphy. “Until one night, at the age of 22, I walked into a bar and met my now over-10-year comedy partner, Ryan Steele.” 

You Might Know Her From: The Ryan & Amy Show, The Flash, Siren… but you also probably recognize her from various commercial campaigns, such as playing a tiny fairy that shows up in different situations where you might need insurance.

Film Industry Idol: “I’ve been obsessed with Molly Shannon since I can remember. I used to idolize her growing up on SNL. I was once featured on the same page as her on the website, and I almost threw up.”

Coming Next: Goodmurphy can be seen in the upcoming feature film Godfrey, starring Netflix-certified comedian Iliza Shlesinger.

Matt Schmidt, producer

Origin Story: Schmidt grew up in Kitsilano during the ’90s with a writer-director single mother. “If you catch her at a dinner party you can see she never stopped directing,” he says. “We always had these interesting people staying at our house, from actors to artists to Buddhist monks.” But his love of movies came with trips to old Vancouver icons like the Hollywood Theatre on Broadway and the Capitol 6 on Granville, where he’d sneak into double features.  

You Might Know Him From: Schmidt and his partner, Dean Buchanan, co-produced a film called What They Had, starring Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon.

I remember crying the first time I read that script,” says Schmidt. “It was this beautiful personal story—it’s amazing to see what can get done for a relatively smaller budget if the right people/cast can get behind it.”

Coming Next: Schmidt’s company, Paradise City Films, just screened a film at the Sundance Film Festival called Worth, starring Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci and Amy Ryan, about an attorney in Washington D.C. who battles against cynicism, bureaucracy and politics to help the victims of 9/11.


Kathleen Hepburn, writer/director

Origin Story: “I attribute the origin of my career to my mother’s undying love of books, and my father’s skill at telling bedtime stories. I started writing stories as a child and never stopped.”

You Might Know Her From: 2019’s The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, co-written and directed with Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, which had a triumphant festival run, including being awarded Honourable Mention for the top Canadian film at TIFF.

Least Favourite Part of the Industry: “The paternalistic attitude some male crew members still hold toward their female peers, and the underrepresentation of people of colour in decision-making positions at the funding and broadcast level.”

Coming Next: A teen coming-of-age mystery series co-written with Elizabeth Cairns.