In Northern Alberta, Canada, a small town birthed not only a celebrity, but also a profound storyteller. Amidst the quaint charm of this rural locale, Bracken Burns emerged, with a promise of artistic poise and prowess. In a town brimming with love, yet scarce in opportunity, Burns found her niche. Far from the glitz of Hollywood, Burns discovered a treasure trove of stories, something that piqued her passion for sharing narratives, however, it would eventually be eclipsed by her initial pursuit of Physics at the University of Alberta.
In an act of spontaneous intuition, Burns left the path of science, answering the relentless call of the performing arts. At one fateful audition for a performing arts program at Grant Macewan University—a decision made just two weeks before the start of term—set her on an entirely new trajectory.
From there, a fast-paced journey began. In an act of cosmic alignment, Burns was accepted to The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for her Master’s degree—on the very day she auditioned. This astonishing progression was not set by random chance—it seemed as if the universe had conspired to carve her path, guiding her toward the world of theater.
Burns’s career took flight, landing her roles in productions like Saturday Night Fever, Clinton The Musical, and The Improvised Musical. Her journey across the pond back to Canada was supposed to be a brief interlude to renew her Exceptional Talent Visa for the UK, but fate had different plans. Canada welcomed her back with open arms and an array of enticing opportunities, from Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs 3 to Frankie Drake on CBC. With these projects, the silver screen beckoned Burns, as if marking her transition from theater to film and TV as her destined path.
The world of films introduced Burns to renowned actor Viggo Mortensen, and their collaboration on his directorial debut, Falling, etched another milestone in her career. Premiering in both Sundance and Cannes—and winning numerous accolades—Burns’s role in this film marked a true breakthrough.
Despite her meteoric rise, Burns remains grounded in her roots. She acknowledges the peculiar mix of awe and disbelief she experiences, while sitting at the table with industry elites. This humility, juxtaposed by a steely resolve, has propelled her forward as Burns navigates the often-turbulent waters of a male-dominated industry. Her commitment to equality and representation is unyielding.
Burns’s resilience and steadfast dedication to storytelling is encapsulated in a simple yet powerful piece of advice imparted by Mortensen: “Stick around.” As Burns interprets it, this guidance is a reminder to resist the rush and to reject the allure of instant gratification, which often feeds the fear of not being enough.
Currently, Burns is involved in the production of a documentary feature film titled, Wilds of Canada—a deeply personal project that explores her grandmother’s experiences teaching in a residential school. Through this endeavor, she continues to break barriers and challenge conventions, underscoring her unwavering belief in using storytelling as a vehicle for change.
Burns’s story perfectly mirrors her love for storytelling. From a small town in Northern Alberta to sharing screen space with the likes of Laura Linney and Viggo Mortensen, her journey illustrates that a passion for narratives can indeed open doors to extraordinary opportunities. As she moves forward, Burns carries with her the determination and the tenacity to continue telling stories. This surging passion helps instill the belief that she is not running out of time, rather, she is just getting started.
Presented by: S99