Cinematographer, Director, Aquarian
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Venus and Rising: Pisces
“I made my first movie in 1970. After college I had trouble finding work in a pretty much non-existent Canadian movie biz.”Danny
One day at 11 years old, Danny came across a crew working on the beach, shooting a movie called ‘Waiting for Caroline’, a drama about a woman torn between Anglophone and Francophone culture, not to mention her two lovers- reflecting the duality of Canadian life. Drawn to what was happening on set, Danny decided to skip school for the next few days to watch the magic come together.
From then on, he knew he wanted to make movies, which is definitely reflected through his Venus in Pisces. Venus in this sign has an adoration for all things imaginative, be it through film, music, and more, but they may use these things to escape from the dullness of everyday life, which Danny mentioned to me, having grown up in a village in Vancouver where he said, “not much really happened.” And with his Venus being so close to his rising sign, which also happens to be in Pisces, Danny was simply meant for the industry. Pisces enjoys telling stories that connects people and sees everything with kindness and compassion. They have a way to bring others into their world and manage to prove that with a little faith, anything is possible. And what better way to do that than through cinema.
After working for some time at a TV station, he later came to Toronto to pursue a career with CBC. Over a decade later, Danny and his wife, who at the time was a reporter, moved to Brazil and together they started the South American news bureau in Rio de Janeiro for CNN. While in Rio, Danny got to cover a number of stories with the American station, including one of a young girl with a dream of becoming a ballerina. In the news segment, she talks about how she always thought that ballet was for “rich kids”, and that she didn’t think it was possible for her. Her dream came true when she met Dora Andrade, “a former dancer who now runs a unique school in Fortaleza” to teach dance. After witnessing the poverty, Dora felt she wanted to contribute in the best way she knew how. And thus she opened her dance school.
“We were in Brazil for ten years,” said Danny. “When we returned to Canada in 2000, I finally started back making movies and I made more than 30 fiction movies [since].”
From then on, Danny has been a part of dozens of productions in Toronto’s film scene. Whether it’s directing, cinematography, or editing, he does it all. He’s worked behind the scenes on shorts like ‘Hoover Damn’, ‘Marital Aids’, and the cheeky ‘Love Thongs’, and has also directed the horror film ‘The Time Between’, about a woman who’s yet to realize she’s already dead. No matter what he does, like a true Aquarius sun, Danny remains authentic, and chooses to be a part of projects that are both original and that make people think in some way.
In 2015, he created the Facebook group, ‘Toronto Indie Movie Support Group’. “We now have over 5000 Toronto based actors, writers, production and technical people. One of our members had organized a monthly networking get-together and asked me if I wanted to promote it in my FB group.” And this only makes sense, because if there is one thing Aquarius are experts at, it’s bringing people together, thanks to their humanitarian nature. Whether it’s on set or in daily life, you can tell one of Danny’s goals is to uplift the people around him, and to make the indie film community feel as connected as possible. Prior to the pandemic, the meet-ups would be on the last Thursday each month in Yorkville. With restrictions lifting, he hopes to see the meet-ups continue.
When it comes to filmmaking, Danny says, “I seem to have a flair for light, physical comedy.” For dream collaborations, “Burt Lancaster is my favorite actor and I would have loved to work with him. As far as people alive now, I would love to be the cinematographer on a project with my favorite director Alfonso Cuaron.” Cuaron is most noted for directing movies like ‘Roma’, ‘Children of Men’ and ‘Gravity’.
Like many independent artists, Danny wishes there were more support available, both locally and across Canada. He says, “When compared to other countries, Canada has an abysmal record of nurturing up and coming filmmakers. That should change but probably won’t.” Till then, he’s doing his part by working hard to make his group on Facebook the best it can be, by safely moderating each post that goes through, to ensure that local artists get the opportunity to work on projects that will bring out the best of their abilities and showcase what their talent has to offer.
If you’re interested in hiring Danny for a film, or to simply know more about his work, visit http://www.dannymakesmovies.com/