Grace Dove always wanted to be an actor. Growing up in Northern British Columbia, it didn’t always seem possible. But after years of hard work and increasingly prominent roles, the VFS Acting graduate is thriving with leading roles both in Hollywood and in one of the most acclaimed Canadian films in recent memory.
Grace Dove stars in Bones of Crows as Aline Spears, a survivor of Canada’s residential school system torn from her family at a young age who becomes a Cree code talker during the Second World War. The film was written, produced, and directed by Marie Clements, who tells a multigenerational story of trauma, resilience, and the pursuit of justice. Tanaya Beatty, a fellow VFS acting alum, plays Taylor Wallach in the film.
After touring the festival circuit and picking up numerous accolades, Bones of Crows arrived in theatres June 2 throughout Canada. At the Leo Awards, which honours the BC film industry, Bones of Crows has been nominated for 13 of 14 motion picture categories including a nomination for Best Female Lead for Grace’s performance. As a side note, Vince Arvidson, a VFS Film Production alumni and Bones of Crows’ cinematographer, was nominated for Best Cinematography.
Critics weren’t the only ones taking note. Producers at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation also realized that audiences needed more of Grace, her character Aline, and the uncompromising but vitally important truths of the film, which led to the development of a miniseries of the same name that airs later this year.
Grace first broke into international attention in The Revenant, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s sweeping semi-historical epic starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass. Grace played Glass’ wife, who is only seen through flashback and dream sequence. The film was nominated for twelve Academy Awards, winning three.
Iñárritu and DiCaprio aren’t Grace’s only Oscars connection, however. Since The Revenant, she has worked alongside numerous acclaimed performers and directors. In 2018, she starred opposite Forest Whitaker in the post-apocalyptic thriller How It Ends.
Just last year, she had a leading role in ABC drama Alaska Daily, created by Tom McCarthy (writer and director of 2015 Best Picture Winner Spotlight.) Grace co-starred with Hilary Swank as Roz Friendly and Eileen Fitzgerald, respectively, a pair of journalists investigating the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women. It’s a story that holds personal meaning for Grace, a member of the Secwépemc First Nation.
“Missing and murdered indigenous women, the epidemic is so relevant in my life, my family's life, and my community,” Grace said in an interview with ABC. “[Alaska Daily] shows indigenous people in a modern world and it shows how smart, how intelligent, and how we are all fighting for the same cause for humanity.”
Grace doesn’t just keep up, but shines among her award-winning castmates; it speaks to her incredible talent and a career that is only going to continue grabbing audience and critical acclaim alike. Just ask Omari Newton, VFS Head of Department for Acting.
“Grace Dove is a gifted artist and an inspirational human,” says Omari. “She infuses the characters that she plays with the integrity, warmth and empathy, that she carries with her in her personal life. We could not be more proud of her being a VFS acting grad, and we are thrilled to watch her exciting career grow with each new credit.”
If you haven’t had the chance to see Grace in Bones of Crows yet, there’s still time to see it in theatres! The miniseries, of the same title, airs later this year.