2011 National Arts Centre Award
Quebec film director and writer Denis Villeneuve is one of the hottest filmmakers on the international scene today. His latest feature, Incendies (2010), based on the play by acclaimed Canadian writer and director Wajdi Mouawad, has blazed a dazzling trail: it premiered at La Mostra in Venice, screened to rave reviews at the Toronto, Telluride and Sundance Film Festivals, won the Toronto and Vancouver Film Critics Awards for Best Canadian Film, was named one of the Top Five Foreign Films of 2010 by New York’s National Board of Review, and was nominated for 10 Genies and an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Mr. Villeneuve’s previous film, Polytechnique (2009), a cinematic retelling of the 1989 shooting of 14 women students at Montreal’s École Polytechnique, swept the Genie Awards, winning in 9 of the 11 categories in which it was nominated (including Best Motion Picture and Best Director), and won the Toronto Film Critics Award for Best Canadian Film.
His earlier works have premiered at prestigious international film festivals to unanimous critical acclaim: Rewind/Fast Forward (documentary short, 1994), 32nd Day of August on Earth (1998), Maelstrom (2000), and Next Floor (short, 2008). Together they have garnered over 80 awards.
Denis Villeneuve was born in 1967 in Gentilly, Quebec. Fascinated from a young age by the art of storytelling, he made his first short films while still in high school and went on to study communications at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
Of filmmaking, he says, “One of the most enjoyable aspects for me is writing the screenplay and experiencing the incomparable pleasure of endless possibility, the pure creative process where I try to tell a story based on the reality around me, and to understand and explore what’s going on in the world.”
Awards and honours include four Genie Awards; five Jutra Awards; two consecutive Toronto Film Critics Awards for Best Canadian Film (for Incendies and Polytechnique); Cannes Canal+ Award for best short of the week (for Next Floor, 2008); named one of “Ten Directors to Watch in 2011” by the influential Hollywood trade publication Variety.