Each year, TIFF Rising Stars showcases new Canadian and international acting talent during the Toronto International Film Festival, placing the emphasis on the next generation who are poised for international success.
Grace Glowicki is a Toronto-based actor and filmmaker. She won the Short Film Special Jury Award for Outstanding Performance at the Sundance Film Festival for her performance in Ben Petrie's Her Friend Adam (16). Glowicki will appear in the upcoming feature Suck it Up (16), directed by TIFF 2011 Talent Lab alumna Jordan Canning.
Sophie Nélisse was born in Windsor and raised in Montreal. She starred in Brian Percival’s The Book Thief (13) and Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar (11), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and earned her a Genie Award for her performance. Nélisse’s latest film credits include Stephen Herek’s The Great Gilly Hopkins (15); Nathan Morlando’s Mean Dreams (16), which premiered at Cannes; Radu Mihaileanu’s The History of Love (16); Dominic James’s Wait Till Helen Comes (16), set to be released this October; and Academy Award nominee Yan England’s directorial debut, 1:54 (16).
Jared Abrahamson was born and raised in Flin Flon, Manitoba and currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. After a stint working in the mines and competing as a pro mixed martial arts fighter, he attended the Vancouver Film School. Abrahamson had a lead role in the Hallmark Hall of Fame film Finding a Family (11) and parts in the ABC pilot The Manzanis, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (12), and Awkward. Recently, Abrahamson filmed roles in Keep Watching (16); Hello Destroyer (TIFF 16); Gun (16); Veracruz (16); Never Steady, Never Still (16); Hollow in the Land (16); and a recurring character on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead.
Mylène Mackay is an actor and comedian, born in Saint-Didace. Currently based in Montreal, she graduated from L’École nationale de théâtre du Canada in 2011. Mackay appeared on television and on stage before her first major film role in André Turpin’s Endorphine (15). Upcoming roles include André Forcier’s Embrasse moi comme tu m’aimes (16), and the title role in Anne Émond’s Nelly (16), based on the life and work of author Nelly Arcan. Mackay is also involved in several voice dubbing projects.
Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama has been included in some of the Nigerian film industry’s better productions. Although not formally trained in acting, she has played leading roles alongside some of the industry's best names. In the critically acclaimed TV series, GIDI UP, she plays lead alongside award winning actor O.C. Ukeje directed by Jadesola Osiberu which officially started her acting career in 2012. Her most riveting role yet is that of Ada Igonoh, in the biopic 93 DAYS where she plays an ebola survivor as supporting actress beside Hollywood actor, Danny Glover. Somkele holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from McMaster University, Canada. Her interest in the arts was ignited after playing the lead role in an adaptation of The Prodigal Son: The Clown while attending Grange School in Lagos Nigeria. Never looking back, all extra-curricular activities were in drama, dance and sports up to her time in university.
Lagos-born actor, singer and performer OC Ukeje joined the Nigerian entertainment scene in 2006 after winning the Amstel Malta Box Office reality TV show for actors. He later trained at the New York Film Academy. Widely recognized as Nigeria’s most promising actor, OC’s recent films include Sara Blecher’s Ayanda, Half of a Yellow Sun, based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's bestselling novel; BFI-Sponsored Gone Too Far, the award-winning dark comedy Confusion Na Wa, Jeta Amata's Black November and Shirley Frimpong Manso's Love or Something Like That. OC also appeared in The Department, When Love Happens, Two Brides and a Baby, White Waters and in the high-rated TV series Gidi Up and Dowry. OC is recipient of several Best Actor awards including the Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Award 2013 & 2015, Nigerian Entertainment Award, Africa Movie Academy Award, Best Of Nollywood Award and other prestigious awards. In his spare time, OC writes material for his music and develops ideas for future projects.