Ingrid Veninger

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Ingrid Veninger
Ingrid Veninger 2013 (10042181223).jpg
Veninger in 2013
Born (1968-08-21) August 21, 1968 (age 48)
Bratislava, Slovakia
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Actress, director, writer, producer
Years active 1980s–present

Ingrid Veninger (born August 21, 1968) is a Canadian actress, writer, director, producer, and film professor at York University.[1]

Early life[edit]

Veninger was born in Bratislava, before immigrating to Canada in the 1970s with her parents, where she was subsequently raised. Veninger got her start in show business in an advertisement for Bell Canada with Megan Follows at age 11.[2]


1980s–2000s: Early work as an actress, producer[edit]

As a teen actress, Veninger appeared in a number of films and television series, including the CBC comedy-drama series Airwaves (1986–87).

In 1989, at the age of 21, Veninger branched out into producing by optioning the rights to Margaret Atwood's novel Cat’s Eye. She also worked as an assistant director on Atom Egoyan's The Adjuster (1991) and produced Jeremy Podeswa’s Gemini-nominated music documentary Standards (1992), and Peter Mettler's northern lights documentary Picture of Light (1994).[3]

As an actress, she has worked with Meryl Streep, Holly Hunter, Jackie Burroughs, among others.[4]

In 2000, after working for most of the 1990s as an actress (including a recurring role on the Canadian action series La Femme Nikita), Veninger attended the Canadian Film Centre, where she produced fellow student Julia Kwan’s award-winning short film, Three Sisters on Moon Lake (2001), which played at Sundance and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).[3]

In 2002, Veninger collaborated with Atom Egoyan and Peter Mettler, among others, on the Genie Award winning film, Gambling, Gods and LSD.[5]

In 2003, Veninger founded her production company, pUNK Films Inc., and began to work on her own projects as a writer/director.[6]

She is a frequent collaborator of Canadian filmmaker and actor Charles Officer, having worked on numerous projects with him, including the short film Urda/Bone, which screened at the New York Film Festival in 2003 and Nurse.Fighter.Boy (2008) which premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival.[7] The short film was later picked up for distribution by Mongrel Media.[3]

2008–present: Directorial debut, feature film work[edit]

Veninger's directorial debut came in 2008, with the release of her low-budget indie film title Only, which screened at a number of local film festivals and cost only $20,000 to produce. Her young son, Jacob starred at the film's protagonist and Veninger appeared in a supporting role as his mother.[7]

Her second film MODRA about returning to the Bratislava region and her home town of Modra was produced in 2010, starring her daughter Hallie Switzer. MODRA was named by TIFF as one of the ten best Canadian films of 2010. Upon its release, The Globe and Mail dubbed Veninger "The DIY Queen of Canadian filmmaking."[8]

Her third film i am a good person/i am a bad person (2011) was screened at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and prompted the Toronto Film Critics Association to award her the Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist.[9][10]

Her fourth film The Animal Project (2013) screened at numerous festivals, including in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.[11][12] The film received mostly positive reviews, with Norm Wilner of NOW Magazine writing: "The reigning queen of lo-fi Canadian cinema has upped her game without abandoning any of her characteristic whimsy." The Torontoist dubbed Veninger "The godmother of Toronto’s D.I.Y. filmmaking scene."[13] The film is currently available for purchase on Vimeo.[14]

In 2013, as she accepted an EDA award from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists for The Animal Project at the Whistler Film Festival, Veninger asked the audience for help funding the Femmes Lab, a workshop she was spearheading to produce 6 female-directed feature films for $6,000. She said the $6,000 investment would not only fund six screenplays to be finished by June, it would guarantee the donor first look at the completed scripts. “The room was stone silent,” recalled Veninger. Oscar-winning actress Melissa Leo ended up volunteering and put up the money, and the TIFF Bell Lightbox offered workshop space.[15][16][17]

For her fifth feature film, Veninger raised over $36,000 from 175 backers on Indiegogo[18][19] and has since toured with the film, titled He Hated Pigeons, at numerous festivals around the world.[20]

Vinegar's forthcoming film, called Porcupine Lake, is based on the script Veninger wrote through her Melissa Leo-funded Femmes Lab, and was also funded in part by Telefilm.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Veninger has been married to film composer John Switzer since 1990. They have two children: Hallie and Jacob, both artists.[22]

In addition to filmmaking, Veninger works as a part-time contract faculty member at York University.[1]




  1. ^ a b "Ingrid Veninger : Cinema & Media Arts". Retrieved 2017-01-21. 
  2. ^ "Filmmaker profile: Ingrid Veninger". Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  3. ^ a b c d Nayman, Adam. "Ingrid Veninger". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  4. ^ "Ingrid Veninger". Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  5. ^ Canada, National Film Board of. "Gambling, Gods and LSD". Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  6. ^ "pUNK FILMS". Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  7. ^ a b "Only Ingrid Veninger – Point of View Magazine". Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  8. ^ "Ingrid Veninger: the DIY queen of Canadian filmmaking". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  9. ^ Brian D. Johnson (11 January 2012). "Toronto critics love 'Monsieur Lazhar'". Maclean's. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize". Toronto Film Critics Association. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "The Animal Project". TIFF. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  12. ^ "Toronto Adds 75+ Titles To 2013 Edition". Indiewire. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  13. ^ Torontoist. "Animal Project, The | NoIndex | Torontoist". Torontoist. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  14. ^ "Watch The Animal Project Online | Vimeo On Demand". Vimeo. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  15. ^ Barnard, Linda (2014-01-15). "Oscar-winning actress Melissa Leo is funding the Femmes Lab, where six female Canadian filmmakers have six months to finish six screenplays.". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  16. ^ Brodsky, Katherine. "Whistler: Ingrid Veninger's 'Ballsy' Request? More Films Made by Women". Variety. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  17. ^ 17, Etan Vlessing July; 2014. "How Ingrid Veninger's 'sisterhood' spawned 6 scripts in 6 months". Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  18. ^ "A phantasmagorical film with live score". Indiegogo. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  19. ^ "Crowdfunding Project of the Week: He Hated Pigeons". Toronto Film Scene. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  20. ^ 13, Jordan Pinto October; 2015. "Ingrid Veninger wings it on He Hated Pigeons". Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  21. ^ 24, Jordan Pinto October; 2016. "Porcupine Lake a film of firsts for Ingrid Veninger". Retrieved 2017-01-21. 
  22. ^ "Ingrid Veninger's latest filmmaking journey". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 

External links[edit]