Beginning in 1969 with Garbage, Canadian filmmaker Sandy Wilson used her own life as a girl growing up in British Columbia as inspiration for many of her early documentaries, like The Bridal Shower (1972) and He’s Not the Walking Kind (1972). Although known primarily as a screenwriter and director of documentaries, Wilson gained prominence internationally with her first feature film My American Cousin (1985), a coming of age story loosely based on Wilson’s childhood. The first English Canadian fiction film directed by a woman in nearly 10 years, it was made on a very lean $1.2 million budget (which took over two years to raise). It managed to beat out the most expensive Canadian film to date and won six Genie Awards and the International Critics’ Award at the Toronto Film Festival.
Rather than move to Los Angeles, Wilson remained in Canada, where she was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Achievement in Direction and Best Motion Picture for her 1992 film Harmony Cats. While not directing, Wilson has continued screenwriting and has taught film direction at Capilano College and the Vancouver Film School. She was given an Honorary Award by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle in 2007.