Curator Michael DowseMichael Dowse

A critically acclaimed figure on Canada's independent film and comedy feature scene, Michael Dowse was a one-man production comedy on the cult hit "FUBAR" (2002) before moving on to more mainstream (but no less raucous) fare like "It's All Gone Pete Tong" (2004) and "Goon" (2011).

After cutting his teeth in music videos and commercials, Dowse gained national attention with his proudly skewed feature debut, "FUBAR," a mockumentary about two metalheads who introduce a well-meaning documentarian to their low-rent lifestyle. A huge hit in Canada where the subtle, affectionate digs at local pop culture were appreciated, "FUBAR" gave Dowse the career boost he needed to pursue a full-time career as a filmmaker. Dowse's unique sensibilities, as well as his skill with numerous genres, underscored his status as a filmmaker on the rise in Canada and beyond. Born April 19, 1973 in London, Ontario, Canada, Michael Dowse was raised in Calgary. After earning his master's degree from Yale business school in the late '90s, he began working as an editor and director on commercials and music videos for Canadian bands like the New Pornographers, whose inventive video for their first single "Letter From An Occupant" got both band and director a lot of notice. His feature debut as an editor came with the Canadian comedy "Bad Money" (1999) shortly before he directed the short "237" (2000), about the lives of people spent in the titular hotel room. From there, he made the leap to feature films with "FUBAR" (2002), an offbeat mockumentary about two miscreants who are forced to tackle their own maturity - and mortality - when one of them is diagnosed with testicular cancer. Written, directed, edited and filmed by Dowse, who funded the project with credit cards, "FUBAR" was selected to screen at the Sundance Film Festival, and became a cult hit throughout Canada. It helped put Dowse on the Canadian cinema scene, thanks in part to a Genie nomination for Best Achievement in Editing. For his second feature, Dowse moved from Canada's rock and roll underground to another small but fiercely loyal subculture: the dance scene on the Spanish island of Ibiza for the another mockumentary, "It's All Gone Pete Tong" (2004). "Pete Tong" won not only critical acclaim but also top prizes at several major film festivals, including Best Canadian Feature at the Toronto International Film Festival and Best Feature at the US Comedy Arts Festival, and two more Genie nods for Best Screenplay and Achievement in Direction. The popularity of his sophomore feature led to an offer from Universal to make his Hollywood feature debut with "Kids in America." Completed in 2007, it was shelved until 2011 when it was released with a new name “Take Me Home Tonight.” Dowse segued into television with the sitcom "The Foundation" (Showcase 2009-2010), about a corrupt director of a philanthropic organization. In addition to creating and producing the series, Dowse also directed and edited numerous episodes. After the show ran its course, Dowse revisited his early hit by directing "FUBAR: Balls to the Wall" (2010), a sequel to his feature debut which sent his hapless heroes to the frozen oil fields of Canada's northern territory. Dowse then directed "Goon" (2011), a comedy about a bar bouncer (Seann William Scott) who joins a minor league hockey team as an "enforcer" or "goon"- a player unofficially designated to physically intimidate opposing team members. Based on the autobiography of real-life "goon" Doug Smith, the picture, written by actor Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen's frequent writing/producing partner, Evan Goldberg, was a critical and box office hit, netting three nominations at the 2013 Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Achievement in Direction for Dowse. After collaborating with Ken Scott on the screenplay for veteran Canadian filmmaker Don McKellar's 2013 comedy "The Grand Seduction," Dowse returned to the director's chair for "The F Word" (2013). The romantic comedy starred Daniel Radcliffe as a young man infatuated with a girl (Zoe Kazan) who only regards him as a friend. The Irish-Canadian picture premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, where it received excellent reviews from critics, many of whom marvelled at the light touch applied by Dowse, whose previous efforts were marked by their loud, occasionally crude humour.

 

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