Up and Comers: Meet The 2014 TIFF Rising Stars

Above clockwise: Alexandre Landry, Shannon Kook, Julia Sarah Stone and Sophie Desmarais
Above clockwise: Alexandre Landry, Shannon Kook, Julia Sarah Stone and Sophie Desmarais

All eyes are on Toronto as Hollywood and stargazers from around the globe hit the city for the 39th annual Toronto International Film Festival. This year’s festival features 85 different venues where film lovers can check out 300 films from 79 different countries and four very promising young actors on the edge of stardom.

Now in its fourth year, TIFF’s noteworthy Rising Stars is a professional development program that immerses four young Canadian actors in the 11-day bash and helps them network with movie industry movers and shakers from around the world. This year’s selections — as chosen by a jury — include: Alexandre Landry, Shannon Kook, Julia Sarah Stone, and Sophie Desmarais.

Here’s the lowdown on TIFF’s 2014 Rising Stars:

Alexandre Landry

Quebec actor Alexandre Landry charmed in the francophone film Gabrielle, which was an official selection of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and was Canada’s selection for 2013 Oscar nomination. Sadly, the French-Canadian flick never made it to the Academy Awards, but Landry did garner critical acclaim for his first feature film performance. This year TIFF watchers can check out the world premiere of Landry in Rodrigue Jean’s highly anticipated film, Love in the Time of Civil War, an examination of sex, drugs, hustlers and addicts in modern-day Montreal.

Shannon Kook

You might recognize Shannon Kook from his role as Zane Park on Degrassi: The Next Generation, or from his brief stints on Being Erica and Rookie Blue. One thing is for sure, the South African actor has definitely been around the Canadian television block. This year, celebrity watchers and film critics can see him in the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s 2009 novel, Dark Places, where a woman is forced to confront her past by a secret society obsessed with solving notorious murders. Kook stars opposite an all-star cast that includes: Chloë Grace Moretz, Christina Hendricks and Charlize Theron.

Julia Sarah Stone

This year’s youngest Rising Star is Vancouver native Julia Sarah Stone. Last year the 16-year-old actress received accolades for her role as a homeless teen on AMC’s critically acclaimed series The Killing. This year TIFF audiences will have a chance to see Stone’s performance in Wet Bum, as she portrays a teenager working in a retirement home. She’s also just landed a role in the pilot for Charles Kaufman’s How and Why, which has yet to be picked up.

Sophie Desmarais

Though still a relative newcomer, Sophie Desmarais has already starred opposite actresses Charlize Theron and Penléope Cruz. Impressive, right? Last year Desmarais scored critical acclaim for her role as a young Quebec track star in Chloé Robichaud’s Sarah Prefers to Run. Though she doesn’t appear in any films being screened at TIFF this year, audiences can see Desmarais later this year in three upcoming films: Qu’est-ce qu’on fait ici?, Henri Henri and Gurov and Anna.

The 39th annual Toronto International Film Festival begins Thursday September 4th and runs until Sunday September 14th.

Alicia Kolenda

Alicia Kolenda is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on 29 Secrets, AmongMen, Nexopia, Baby Post, Savvy Mom and Recipe Geek. She can often be found drinking high tea and ghost hunting—though never at the same time, it wouldn’t be dignified. Find her at aliciakolenda.com or catch her on twitter @AliciaKolenda.

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