The New Hollywood North: Renuka Jeyapalan

The New Hollywood North: Renuka Jeyapalan

The Kim’s Convenience director on her big break, her favourite films and what movie she’d make with $1 billion

Known for: The beloved CBC series Kim’s Convenience

First filmmaking experience: “While studying biochemistry at U of T, I borrowed a Super 8 camera from the film club and filmed Sunday Afternoon. In it, my friend has a dream that she’s Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, then wakes up and makes a cup of tea.”

Why you decided to become a director: “In second year, my film class professor analyzed a scene in The Godfather. It broke open what the craft of filmmaking was for me.”

Your big break: “Getting accepted into the Canadian Film Centre in 2005 and making my first short film, Big Girl. It went on to win the best Canadian short at TIFF.”

Something every young director should know: “There are high highs and low lows in this career. Try to appreciate both of them.”

Desert island movie:The Godfather. It pulls you in, and you get lost in the story every time, so it’s a good distraction.”

Movie you’ve watched the most times:All the President’s Men. I find something new in it each time.”

Favourite director: “A Polish director named Krzysztof Kieślowski. He was a master of visual storytelling.”

Hollywood star you most want to work with: “Leonardo DiCaprio. I would love to collaborate with someone at that level of their craft.”

Most memorable celebrity interaction: “During TIFF in 2012, at the bar of the Shangri-La, I saw the back of Brad Pitt’s head as he exited through the kitchen. My heart was pounding.”

Favourite cinema snack: “Popcorn layered with butter.”

Toughest part about directing: “You’re so consumed by the work that you don’t get enough sleep.”

One simple fix that would improve the film industry in Canada: “Play a trailer for a Canadian film before every single movie in theatres. Then our audiences will know our films are out there.”

Someone gives you a $1-billion budget. What movie do you make? “An international Before Sunrisetype of film, using the best locations in the world.”

Would you rather win an Oscar for best director or direct the highest grossing film of all time? “The Oscar. It’s so iconic.”

Your next project: “A feature called Stay the Night, which will be out later this year or early next year. It premiered at SXSW in March.”

The New Hollywood North