Sleeping Giant (film)

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Sleeping Giant
Sleeping Giant (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAndrew Cividino
Produced byKaren Harnsch
Marc Swenker
James Vandewater
Aaron Yeger
Andrew Cividino
Written byAndrew Cividino
StarringJackson Martin
Reece Moffett
Nick Serino
Music byChris Thornborrow
CinematographyJames Klopko
Edited byJames Vandewater
Film Forge Productions
Hawkeye Pictures
Distributed byD Films
Release date
  • May 14, 2015 (2015-05-14) (Cannes)
Running time
89 minutes

Sleeping Giant is a 2015 Canadian drama film written and directed by Andrew Cividino. The film follows three teenage boys coping with boredom in cottage country on the shores of Lake Superior.

The film premiered in the International Critics' Week section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[1] It is an expansion of a short film that Cividino made in 2013,[2] which was nominated for Best Live Action Short Drama at the 3rd Canadian Screen Awards. The film is named after the Sleeping Giant cliffs near Thunder Bay.


Teenage Adam Hudson is spending his summer vacation with his upper middle-class parents in Thunder Bay on rugged Lake Superior. His dull routine is given a jumpstart when he befriends Riley and Nate, working-class cousins staying with their grandmother, who pass their ample free time with debauchery and reckless cliff jumping. Sporadically joined by Adam’s friend Taylor, the three boys become inseparable, but their friendship is uneasy and rife with hormonal tension, bullying and jealously.

Riley witnesses Adam's father engaging an extramarital affair with a local shopkeeper and tells Adam, who begins to act out in his father's company and engage in increasingly dangerous mischief with his friends. The revelation of his father's infidelity triggers a series of irreversible events that test the bonds of friendship and change the boys forever.


  • Jackson Martin as Adam Hudson
  • Nick Serino as Nate
  • Reece Moffett as Riley
  • Katelyn McKerracher as Taylor
  • Rita Serino as Grandma
  • Erika Brodzky as Marianne
  • David Disher as William Hudson
  • Taylor Facca as Shanna
  • Lorraine Philp as Linda Hudson
  • Kyle Bertrand as Brad


Cividino has listed numerous films and filmmakers as influences for Sleeping Giant, including Peter Weir's Picnic At Hanging Rock, Mike Nichols' The Graduate, and Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank.[3]


Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 87% based on 23 reviews, and an average rating of 7.5/10.[4] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 5 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[5]

Variety's Guy Lodge called the film an "accomplished debut," adding, "Cividino depicts the tricky male power games between the boys with tact and compassionate impartiality."[6] Jessica Kiang for The Playlist wrote "Perhaps most impressive is how, despite the nostalgia inherent in this kind of endeavor, Sleeping Giant never sentimentalizes its story, and never compromises on the essentially bleak idea that you can be transformed from a carefree child shading your eyes from the glare of a huge, wide future to a scarred and haunted young adult in a single moment."[7]


Sleeping Giant won Best Canadian First Feature Film at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.[8] It also took home the Best Canadian Film award at the Vancouver International Film Festival.[9] In December 2015, the Toronto International Film Festival named the film to its annual year-end Canada's Top Ten list.[10]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Toronto Film Critics Association December 14, 2015 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award Andrew Cividino Nominated [11]
Canadian Screen Awards March 13, 2016 Best Motion Picture Karen Harnisch, Andrew Cividino, Marc Swenker, James Vandewater, Aaron Yeger Nominated [12][13]
Best Director Andrew Cividino Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Nick Serino Won
Best Editing James Vandewater Nominated


  1. ^ Felperin, Leslie (May 14, 2015). "'Sleeping Giant': Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  2. ^ Knight, Chris (May 21, 2015). "Cannes 2015: Andrew Cividino debuts with Thunder Bay-shot Sleeping Giant". National Post. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  3. ^ Knegt, Peter (April 7, 2016). "5 films that inspired the breakout director of Sleeping Giant". CBC. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "Sleeping Giant (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  5. ^ "Sleeping Giant Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  6. ^ Lodge, Guy (May 15, 2015). "Cannes Film Review: 'Sleeping Giant'". Variety. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  7. ^ Kiang, Jessica (May 16, 2015). "Cannes Review: Andrew Cividino's Chilling Coming Of Age Debut 'Sleeping Giant'". The Playlist. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  8. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (September 20, 2015). "'Room' Wins Toronto Film Festival's People's Choice Award". Variety. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  9. ^ Pinto, Jordan (October 5, 2015). "Sleeping Giant, Fractured Land win VIFF prizes". Playback. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  10. ^ Hertz, Barry (December 8, 2015). "TIFF reveals Canada's Top Ten Film Festival line-up". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  11. ^ "Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson share $100K award for best Canadian films". CBC News. January 5, 2016. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  12. ^ "2016 Canadian Screen Awards: All the nominees". Hello!. January 19, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  13. ^ "Nick Serino wins Best Supporting Actor at Canadian Screen Awards". CBC News. March 14, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2019.

External links[edit]