Jay Cardinal Villeneuve (Cree/Métis) was born and raised in northern Alberta and is an intergenerational residential school survivor who began acting on stage in community theatre productions when he was just a young buck. He went on to study Theatre in College, dropped out to pursue a career in film, and then graduate from Capilano University with a diploma in the Indigenous Independent Digital Filmmaking program.
Villeneuve concurrently worked as a video statement gatherer w/ the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which set the impetus for his short documentary “Holy Angels” produced by the NFB, that won critical acclaim and several awards including a Leo Award for screenwriting in 2018. His comedy “Is That One of Your Jokes” garnered him the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the 2017 LA Skins Fest in Hollywood; and in a career-defining role, Jay plays Scary Gary in Tracey Deer’s new film “Beans” about the 1990 Mohawk stand-off at Oka which has it’s world premier at TIFF 2020.
He can also be seen in The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, playing Coyote in APTN’s Coyote’s Crazy Smart Science Show and as Phil in the “Get Shorty” Epix TV series. Jay recently received the ISO/Netflix program grant for Indigenous Screen Creators.
Jay’s greatest honour —> he’s the proud papa of three awe-inspiring children who are often part of the indie films w/ his production company, the cardinal cinéma c[art]el. “live to dream, dare to live; live your dreams if you dare!” ~ jay cardinal villeneuve