The term Renaissance Man gets thrown around to describe anyone who has a few diverse interests. Vladimir Jon Cubrt is an actual renaissance man. He is formerly trained in theatre and, as a professional, has received numerous award and accolades for his acting, writing, producing and music. Beyond his artistic pursuits, he’s also a certified rescue diver who has traveled the world to dive in exotic and dangerous locations; and he was a member of a Latin dance company, and studied dance for a month in Cuba because, as he tells me, it’s the birthplace of salsa.
But I think a true polymath is someone who is self-taught. As an adult, Vlad has taught himself how to play three instruments, read and write music, record and mix his own songs and, more recently, has taught himself how to teach music! He is teaching his daughter piano – she just played “Beauty and the Beast” and “New Soul” for a Xmas concert we had at our house – teaching himself how to teach her as they go.
Another reason I think he has, at least to me, earned the title of renaissance man is his volunteer experience. When he wants to know more about an issue he goes to the source. Since I have known him I have seen how he gets directly involved with helping and learning about a cause or a community, rather than just sharing a facebook post about it and then moving on with his life.
His curiosity, and diligence for self-improvement is what makes Vlad Vlad and has led him to learn how to build or fix almost anything – his friends are always asking him to build their decks or fix their whatevers! – to learn a second language, and be able to video edit and use photoshop so that he can do all the work, himself, that most film producers have to hire someone to do. He also spends his down time learning about quantum mechanics (though, he confesses, he doesn’t understand any of it) because “isn’t it awesome!?”…
…all the while being a devoted father and husband, which is the thing about him I love best of all.
-Written by his wife, Nicole Maroon
What ‘hood are you in?
I live in one of the best hoods in Toronto – Wychwood – where the Artscape Wychwood Barns (and their super-yummy, super-fun market) has become the hub of a vibrant, artsy, multi-cultural and family-centric part of the city.
We filmed “Luba” all over the hood ad up and down St Clair West including in the Artbarn, and at neighborhood staples, Dave’s on St Clair and Evergreen Health Foods. We even filmed a pick-up scene (not a “pick-up” scene) in (former) Councillor Joe Mihevc’s office, who was kind enough to let us co-opt his space for a day.
What do you do?
I am a family man. There is nobody I’d rather be with than my daughter and wife, doing whatever looney-tunes shenanigans we all get up to together on any particular day.
Professionally, speaking, I was an actor for twenty years. Now I don’t know what I am anymore – I’m in a stage of re-assessment. I really like the writing and producing thing, I’d like to do more of that. It’s so very nice to be able to contribute more as an actor/artist then a couple days here and there as a “day player” on the big America productions that bring along all their leads (and most of their supporting leads).
As for hobbies, past-times, etc. – at this stage of my life, I feel I need to help my community where I can, and fight for the things that I care about. I’ve realized – after only 40-something years – that if I sit around waiting for everybody else to make the world a better place for me, than I deserve what I get.
I’ve volunteered the last couple years at the Native Canadian Centre on Spadina, helping with both their wintertime breakfast program as well as their Big Drum Social. I’ve enjoyed all my time there but the Big Drum social particularly, is a lot of fun. It’s open to everyone and is definitely worth checking out. I’ve also started to get involved in advocacy for children and their parents (particularly fathers) that are deliberately marginalized or alienated from their children by another parent. It doesn’t seem like there is much help for broken families in conflict, and the legal system in Canada seems ill equipped or very poorly set-up (Family Court is adversarial by nature and incredibly expensive) to really help broken families do the best for their children (or as best as possible, given each set of circumstances).
What are you currently working on?
I am in the midst of promoting the release of Luba, my debut feature as a writer and producer, which is coming out January 10 th . And I am beginning to lay the groundwork for production on my next film. My screenplay – which is a very personal story – is in good shape, enough now that I can talk to people about it. I’m starting to have all those conversations you need to have, where bit by bit you build your team, generate some inertia (and, of course, find the money) to begin the very, very long journey that the making of a feature film is.
Where can we find your work?
Luba was released theatrically in Toronto, at the Carlton, and in Calgary, at the Globe on January 10, 2020. Simultaneously, the film was released online, worldwide, exclusively on Highball.TV a new streaming service with a focus on festival and Arthouse gems.
Here is the Luba’s link: https://www.highballtv.com/luba