Lynne Stopkewich

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Lynne Stopkewich
Alma materConcordia University,
University of British Columbia
OccupationFilm director
Years active1990s–present

Lynne Stopkewich (born 1964) is a Canadian film director. She attracted attention for her feature film directorial debut Kissed (1996).

Life and career[edit]

In 1987, Stopkewich obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in film studies from Concordia University, followed in 1996 by a Master of Fine Arts Degree in film studies from the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of British Columbia. Her first short films were made while at Concordia.


Kissed commenced development as Stopkewich's thesis feature at the University of British Columbia, to which Stopkewich later returned as a faculty member.[1] The film stars Molly Parker as Sandra Larson, a young woman whose fixation on death leads her to study embalming at a mortuary school, where in turn she finds herself drawn toward feelings of necrophilia. Peter Outerbridge also stars as Matt, a fellow student who develops romantic feelings for Sandra, and so must learn to accept her sexual proclivities. Despite being allowed a substantial grant, Stopkewich went almost $30,000 into debt and cost her company $400,000 so she could complete shooting the film.[2]

The film received significant attention. Roger Ebert described the film as "one of the most controversial films at the Toronto and Sundance festivals" and gave the film a three-star review, noting that it "is about a necrophiliac, but in its approach, it could be about spirituality or transcendence."[3] The New York Times noted that "it would be easy to snicker at this Canadian film, were its subject not handled with a delicacy and lyricism that underscore the mystical rather than gruesome aspects of what Sandra coolly acknowledges is a consuming addiction."[4]

Other work[edit]

In addition to Kissed, Stopkewich has directed the feature film Suspicious River (2000). She has also directed various television episodes of Bliss, Da Vinci's Inquest, The L Word, This Is Wonderland, and The Shields Stories.[5] Stopkewich generally prefers to work with cast and crew with whom she has worked before, most notably, the actress Molly Parker.[6]

Stopkewich's approach to the gaze in film is in part informed by feminist film theory,[7] and thus her films have been described as being "darkly feminist."[8] Canadians also see in her films "a strong sense of local culture" which rises "above the American appropriation of Vancouver as a backdrop for American generic culture."[9]

She is the Vancouver director on Here At Home, a 2012 National Film Board of Canada web documentary exploring the Mental Health Commission of Canada's efforts to end homelessness for people with mental illness via its At Home initiative.[10]


  1. ^ Faculty Profile of Lynne Stopkewich Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine. Department of Theatre and Film Studies, University of British Columbia. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  2. ^ Kalli Paakspuu, "Lynne Stopkewich: Abject Sexualities" Great Canadian Film Directors, ed. George Melnyk. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press (2007): 394
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 25, 1997). "Kissed". Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  4. ^ Holden, Stephen (April 18, 1997). "Kissed". New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
  5. ^ Melnyk, George; Austin-Smith, Brenda (2010). The gendered screen : Canadian women filmmakers. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. p. 43. ISBN 9781554582716.
  6. ^ Kalli Paakspuu, "Lynne Stopkewich: Abject Sexualities" Great Canadian Film Directors, ed. George Melnyk. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press (2007): 385. "Preferring to work with established relationships, her creative collaboration with actress Molly Parker ... has been outstanding."
  7. ^ Kay Armatage, Gendering the Nation Toronto: University of Toronto Press (1999): 264. "Stopkewich describes her approach to the circuit of looks as an overt decision, based on her familiarity with feminist film theory."
  8. ^ Paakspuu (2007): 385
  9. ^ Paakspuu (2007): 401
  10. ^ Curran, Oisin. "Here At Home: In the Kitchen With Mr. MadDogg". Huffington Post. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2012.

External links[edit]