Theater provided the springboard for Canadian actor-director Joe Cobden, who parlayed his talents into a diverse career that included appearances in features like "Arrival" (2017), Canadian and American television series, and a string of unique, music-driven short films that he directed and wrote. Born October 7, 1978 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he was one of three children by his parents, journalist Michael Cobden and his wife, Jane, a social worker. Cobden came to performing through busking, which he discovered as a child while attending a festival devoted to street performers. By the age of 11, he had worked up his own busking act, which took him to festivals throughout Canada and Europe. After graduating high school, Cobden auditioned for Concordia University's theater program, and soon fell in love with theater. Stage soon became his primary focus, and he soon became a staple of theater in Montreal, where he became the first English-speaking actor to win the prestigious Les Masques award, and Toronto. Cobden's screen acting career began in 2000 with a minor role in the TNT drama "Nuremberg" (2000), and he soon found steady work in Canadian productions, as well as Hollywood efforts lensed there, including George Clooney's "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" (2000), which cast him as Murray Langston, a.k.a. "The Unknown Comic," Roland Emmerich's disaster epic "The Day After Tomorrow" (2004) and "The Aviator" (2004), Martin Scorsese's biopic of Howard Hughes. He was also a regular performer on Canadian television series like the spy thriller "Angela's Eyes" (CBC, 2006) and the medical drama "Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures" (Movie Central Network, 2010- ). In 2008, Cobden teamed with Benjamin Steiger Levine to make his directorial debut with "Sigh," a charming short about a supermarket stock boy's romantic longings that paid tribute to Hollywood musicals. He would direct seven more short films between 2010 and 2016, which touched on light comic subjects - in "Seven Sins: Pride" (2011), a director plays on actors' vulnerabilities by auditioning them through a one-way mirror - and weightier fare like "Help" (2009), which explored perception and expectation through the simple act of a black South African asking a white countryman (Cobden) to assist with his wheelchair. During this period, Cobden also maintained a busy schedule of theater work and appearances in major features, including "The Vow" (2012), "X-Men: Apocalypse" (2016) and "Arrival" (2017) as well as recurring roles on series like "The Art of More" (Crackle, 2015- ) and the acclaimed Canadian dramas "This Life" (CB, 2015-) and "Bellevue" (CBC/WGN, 2017- ), playing a priest in a small town embroiled in a series of killings. During this busy period - which also found Cobden providing the voices for more than 50 characters on the animated series "Knuckleheads" (Teletoon, 2016-2017) - he also continued to mine music and dance for his own directorial efforts, including "Vive La Canadienne" (2012), a fight set to music in which a woman defends her boyfriend from thugs, and "Cycles" (2016), in which Cobden also plays a man contending with the grief of a lost relationship through dance. He also drew praise for a series of elaborate and occasionally surreal 12-second reviews of Los Angeles-area restaurants for Yelp he co-directed with director Dave Green; the reviews, compiled on the pair's Instagram account, Toothpix, became a hit on social media.