Denis Villeneuve is an accomplished award-winning Canadian movie director, who, over a span of just about thirty years, has delivered several critically acclaimed and commercially fruitful movies.
A multiple-time Canadian Screen Award (formerly Genie Award) winner for Best Direction, Villeneuve has likewise received several awards including the Jutra Awards as additional selections from the prestigious Academy Awards.
Although Denis Villeneuve started considering science to develop a career in the field, his passion for filmmaking encouraged him to pursue film learns at the Université du Quebec à Montréal. He won La Course Europe-Asie, a youth film competition by Radio-Canada.
He initiated filmmaking with short movies and had his breakthrough with the Canadian film ‘Maelström’ that won eight Jutra Awards as well as brought him to the limelight garnering widespread recognition.
Proceeding onward, Denis Villeneuve delivered several remarkable movies like ‘Polytechnique’, ‘Incendies’, ‘Foe’, ‘Prisoners’, ‘Sicario’, and ‘Arrival’. He has thrived in proving his versatility by directing movies of different genres including sci-fi and crime thrillers.
His forthcoming film ‘Sharp edge Runner 2049’, a neo-noir sci-fi, is scheduled for a 2017 release. He will likewise direct movie adaptations of two books namely ‘The Son’ and ‘Rise’ respectively.
Childhood and Early Life
Denis Villeneuve was born on October 3, 1967, in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada to Nicole Demers and Jean Villeneuve. He has a younger brother Martin Villeneuve who proceeded to turn into a TED speaker, screenwriter, director, actor, producer, and art director.
Very little is thought about the early and scholastic life of this pro director except for the way that he abandoned contemplating science, his underlying choice, to pursue movie learn at the Université du Québec à Montréal following his affection for filmmaking.
Denis Villeneuve Career
He directed the documentary movie ‘La Course Destination Monde’ in 1988.
In 1990-91, he emerged as the winner of the youth film competition ‘La Course Europe-Asie’ by ‘Radio Canada’ that certified him for assets from the ‘Public Film Board’.
His underlying works saw him directing short movies that included ‘REW-FFWD’ (1994) in which he additionally contributed as a screenwriter.
The Canadian drama film ‘Universe’, an anthology of six short movies, was released on November 15, 1996. A total of six filmmakers worked on the movie writing and directing one section each with Villeneuve contributing to the fragment named ‘Le Technetium’.
Denis Villeneuve then worked as writer-director of one more Canadian drama flick ‘August 32nd on Earth’ that was released on September 17, 1998. The film starring Pascale Bussières and Alexis Martin saw the latter winning ‘Prix Jutra’ award for Best Actor. The film was screened at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival in its ‘Un Certain Regard’ area.
Although a couple of movies old, Villeneuve landed up with his real breakthrough as writer-director of the Canadian movie ‘Maelström’ (2000) starring Marie-Josee Croze.
The film was screened at different celebrations around the globe and won eight Jutra Awards; 5 Genie Awards; and a ‘Best Canadian Film’ award from the ‘Toronto International Film Festival’ among a total of 23 awards.
After around 10 years he proceeded to contribute as director and co-writer (with Jacques Davidts) of one more commercially hit feature movie ‘Polytechnique’, released on February 6, 2009.
‘Polytechnique’ was a controversial yet critically acclaimed film based on the École Polytechnique massacre, which occurred on December 6, 1989. The film was likewise screened in the 2009 ‘Cannes Film Festival’ and proceeded to garner nine Genie Awards among several others.
During a break, while shooting ‘Polytechnique,’ he directed the short movie ‘Nearby’ that premiered as part of the Semaine de la critique program at the 2008 ‘Cannes Film Festival’ and received the Canal+ prize for the best short movie. The short film, generally wordless, was released on May 15, 2008.
‘Nearby’ won the Prix Jutra for Best Short Film; the Genie Award for Best Live Action Short Drama; and garnered a special reference for the Toronto International Film Festival Award for Best Canadian Short Film.
Denis Villeneuve remained director and co-writer of the critically acclaimed and commercially fruitful Canadian mystery drama movie ‘Incendies’ that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and at the Venice Film Festival in September 2010 and released in Canada on September 17 that year.
‘Incendies’ earned several awards including eight Genie Awards among which the awards for Best Direction and Best Adapted Screenplay were bagged by Villeneuve. Denis Villeneuve likewise won the Jutra Awards for Best Direction and Best Screenplay. The film was chosen to represent Canada in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 83rd Academy Award.
The accomplishment of ‘Incendies’ that was named among ’10 Best Films of 2011′ by ‘The New York Times’ upped his burgeoning career in filmmaking as well as garnered him several recognitions.
In 2011, Denis Villeneuve was chosen among the top ten filmmakers to watch by the ‘Variety’ magazine and was presented with National Arts Center Award at the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.
Pushing forward, he thought of one more blockbuster and critically acclaimed thriller ‘Prisoners’ starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal.
‘Prisoners’ marked the first English language feature movie by the pro director and earned several awards and designations including a selection for Best Cinematography at the 86th Academy Awards.
Denis Villeneuve proceeded with his example of overcoming adversity as a filmmaker with the 2013 psychological thriller flick ‘Foe’ that turned into a smashing hit as well as garnered positive reviews by critics. It premiered on September 8, 2013, at the Toronto International Film Festival in its Special Presentation area.
‘Adversary’ earned him Best Director award from the Canadian Screen Awards and Best Director of a Canadian Film from the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. The Toronto Film Critics Association Awards 2014 named the film as the Best Canadian Film of the Year.
The 2015 crime drama flick ‘Sicario’ directed by Villeneuve additionally emerged as a smashing hit grossing around $80 million worldwide. The critically acclaimed film was selected for the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and additionally earned three designations each from both the Academy Awards and the BAFTA.
Denis Villeneuve next directed the American sci-fi flick ‘Arrival’ that was premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 1, 2016, and then released in the US and Canada on November 11 that year.
The film starring Jeremy Renner, Amy A, dams, and Forest Whitaker was based on Ted Chiang’s 1998 short ‘Story of Your Life’ and turned into a smashing hit in the cinematic world grossing over $203 million worldwide.
‘Arrival’ received praise from the critics apart from earning several awards. These incorporated the ‘Best Sound Editing’ award at the 89th Academy Awards where the movie additionally earned several other designations in different categories including a Best Director assignment for Villeneuve.
The film was chosen among ten Movies of the Year by the American Film Institute.
His forthcoming film is an American neo-noir sci-fi named ‘Sharp edge Runner 2049’, a spin-off of the 1982 flick ‘Edge Runner’ – the Harrison Ford starrer film that inspired him to turn into a filmmaker.
‘Sharp edge Runner 2049’ is scheduled for a worldwide release on October 6, 2017, in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D. Harrison Ford is reprising his role as Rick Deckard in the film starring opposite Ryan Gosling.
Denis Villeneuve is additionally headed to direct the movie adaptation of the crime novel ‘The Son’ by Jo Nesbo and that of the epic sci-fi novel ‘Hill’ by Frank Herbert.
Personal Life and Legacy
He was first married to Canadian film and TV actress Macha Grenon. He has three children from his first marriage.
Presently, Denis Villeneuve is married to Tanya Lapointe, a cultural reporter.