Bronwyn Szabo

Bronwyn Szabo
Courtesy the artist


For filmmaker, screenwriter and actor Bronwyn Szabo, embracing femininity and compassion are central to her oeuvre. Based in Toronto, ON, Szabo’s films and short series grapple with the filmmaker’s own reconciliation with her identity as both Inuk and a white-settler woman. 

Szabo’s foray into acting began in grade nine, when she landed a principal role in her high school play. From that point forward, Szabo went on to study classical theatre at George Brown College and later Straeon Acting Studios, both in Toronto. It was at Straeon that Szabo was introduced to the necessity for actors to write and produce their own work: “my teacher just drilled it into our heads—you have to produce your own work. There's not enough work for actors, you can only get hired if you hire yourself. He told us ‘you always have to be working on writing something, filming something, whatever.’” [1]

Her screenwriting and filmmaking journey thus began with a series of shorts that were either self-produced or assisted by skeleton crews. Szabo loosely bases her work on her own lived experience. Although she started out with comedy, mentors suggested her material was a better fit with horror. “I realized…[that] the story of my ripped identity is in fact a serious one, worthy of striking fear and grief in an audience, and doesn’t need to be made more accessible by being a straight comedy,” Szabo says. [2] This realization led her to the unique style of horror and comedy she has since developed.

Szabo wrote and co-directed the third season of APTN’s educational children’s program Anaana’s Tent (2020), and made her solo directorial debut with Mardöll (2020).  The short film, in which Szabo also stars, revolves around a haunted dollhouse. The film was born during the pandemic lockdowns and was featured in the 2022 Oregon Screams Horror Film Festival. The “girly campy horror” found in Szabo’s work is influenced by the “unapologetically feminized” directorial stylings of Greta Gerwig, the vulnerability of Michaela Coel’s work, and the grotesque body horror in the films of Julia Docournau. This melange of influences help underline Szabo’s message of accountability and built-in forgiveness in one’s process of decolonization. 

In 2023 Szabo was awarded the Netflix and imagineNATIVE grant in honour of Jeff Barnaby for Indigenous filmmakers working in the horror, thriller or futurism genres. The winnings of this grant are going towards her upcoming web-series It Doesn’t Show, which is set to premier in 2024 on APTN Lumi. The series, which mirrors Szabo’s own struggle with identity, follows a young woman who feels she is betraying her indigeneity and is therefore haunted by Qallupilluit—a type of Inuit sea monster—as a form of revenge. In the future, Szabo hopes to gain greater experience directing other actors and develop her taste for “creating work for girls and non-binary people.”

This Profile was made possible through support from RBC Emerging Artists.

Artist Work

About Bronwyn Szabo



Artistic Community:

Toronto, ON

Date of Birth:

Artists may have multiple birth years listed as a result of when and where they were born. For example, an artist born in the early twentieth century in a camp outside of a community centre may not know/have known their exact date of birth and identified different years.