“A Day in the Life” with Toronto Director Cavan Campbell

Cavan Campbell wrote his first screenplay when he was 13 … not too surprising, having followed in the footsteps of his older brother and sister to revel in the world of their film-buff father.

Growing up in rural Prince Edward Island, if you didn’t play hockey, you didn’t belong. Cavan’s was definitely not a hockey family. Rather, raised by a writer mother and artist father, he read, painted, watched movies, and spent plenty of time in the woods and beaches around his house. In high school Cavan did movie reviews for CBC Radio. He always knew that he would live his life in the world of film; so after high school he moved to Toronto to study film at Ryerson University – where he excelled and won several awards.

Toronto was a world apart from rural PEI; Cavan loved it. He really enjoys the City, its vibrant arts scene, and the many friends he shares his life with. But, the ‘country boy’ in him still spends hours cycling (a favourite pastime), hiking, taking pictures, and reading outdoors. Another much-loved interest is travel: exploring his Sri Lankan roots with his mum and his Scottish ones with his dad; as well as other colourful places like Madagascar, Iceland, and Jordan.

And, no profile of Cavan would be complete without mentioning his passion for environmental and social issues – themes that surface often in his films, as well as his lifestyle (e.g. choosing not to own a car, and to grow many of his own vegetables). These are the things that fuel his life.

-Kumari Campbell (Cavan calls me ‘Mum’)

We filmed Receiver last year. Here I am on set, working with lead actress Tahirih Vejdani
We filmed Receiver last year. Here I am on set, working with lead actress Tahirih Vejdani
A perk of riding my bike during the winter: the ice that grows on my beard makes me feel like a frost giant.
A perk of riding my bike during the winter: the ice that grows on my beard makes me feel like a frost giant.
At one of my favourite places, with one of my favourite people: out to the movies with my girlfriend Stephanie.
At one of my favourite places, with one of my favourite people: out to the movies with my girlfriend Stephanie.
Working on a lighting plot in my office at Pinewood Studios, on Star Trek: Discovery. And showing off my new Covid haircut, and the mask made by my mum.
Working on a lighting plot in my office at Pinewood Studios, on Star Trek: Discovery. And showing off my new Covid haircut, and the mask made by my mum.
My usual view at a restaurant. If I’m not dining with someone, then I’m sharing the table with my notebook.
My usual view at a restaurant. If I’m not dining with someone, then I’m sharing the table with my notebook.
Filming sunset through the baobabs in Madagascar
Filming sunset through the baobabs in Madagascar
With my steed, Alia, after finishing a 3-day desert crossing of Wadi Rum in Jordan.
With my steed, Alia, after finishing a 3-day desert crossing of Wadi Rum in Jordan.
Harvesting potatoes in my backyard garden.
Harvesting potatoes in my backyard garden.

Which ‘hood are you in?

I live in East Chinatown, which is a tiny strip of Gerrard Street East, 2 blocks wide & 3 blocks long, that’s the border between Leslieville & Riverdale. I love it. It’s unpretentious, quiet, and homey.

What do you do?

I’m a writer and film director. When I’m not shooting my own projects, I work in lighting design for film and TV.

What are you currently working on?

Luke Higginson and I are currently writing a feature-length adaptation of our film Receiver, and I’m currently working on season 4 of Star Trek: Discovery.

Where can we find your work?

Receiver is premiering at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival on November 12 in the “Film Frenzy” program. You can find my earlier films at www.interlockpictures.com, and on Facebook/Instagram at @interlockpictures. And for personal ramblings, I post on twitter at @CCamOperator.

 

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1976 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography