Denis Villeneuve

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Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve Cannes 2015.jpg
Villeneuve at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
Born (1967-10-03) October 3, 1967 (age 49)
Gentilly, Quebec, Canada
Occupation Film director, screenwriter
Years active 1994–present
Spouse(s) Tanya Lapointe

Denis Villeneuve (French: [dəni vilnœv]; born October 3, 1967) is a Canadian film director and writer. He is a three-time winner of the Genie Award for Best Direction, for Maelström in 2001, Polytechnique in 2010[1] and Incendies in 2011.[2] All three films also won the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Award for Best Motion Picture. Internationally, he is best known for his crime-thrillers Prisoners (2013) and Sicario (2015), and the sci-fi drama Arrival (2016).

Early life[edit]

Villeneuve was born in Gentilly, Quebec on October 3, 1967. He studied film at the Université du Québec à Montréal. [3]


Villeneuve began his career making short films and won the Radio-Canada's youth film competition La Course Europe-Asie in 1990–91.[4]


Villeneuve at the Enemy premiere.

Villeneuve first caught attention for his 2001 film Maelström which screened at festivals worldwide and won dozens of awards, including 8 Jutra Awards and 'Best Canadian Film' from the Toronto International Film Festival. He followed that up with the controversial, but critically acclaimed film Polytechnique (2009) about the shootings that occurred at the Montreal university.

Villeneuve's career exploded further with his film Incendies (2010) which received critical acclaim after it premiered at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals in 2010. Incendies was subsequently chosen to represent Canada at the 83rd Academy Awards in the category of Best Foreign Language Film[5] and was eventually nominated for the award.[6] In January 2011 he was selected as one of the top ten filmmakers to watch.[7] The film went on to win eight awards at the 31st Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture, Best Direction, Best Actress (Lubna Azabal), Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Overall Sound, and Sound Editing.[8]

Incendies was named by The New York Times as one of the '10 Best Films of 2011.'[9]

Also in 2011, Villeneuve's work was recognized at the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards, Canada's highest honor in the performing arts, with the conferring of the National Arts Centre Award.[10]

Villeneuve followed Incendies with the popular film Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film screened at festivals across the globe and won several awards and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 2014.[11] Prisoners is currently ranked No. 220 on IMDb's 'Top 250 Films of All Time' list, which is ranked by popular vote.[12]

Following the success of Incendies and Prisoners, Villeneuve won Best Director for his next film, the mind thriller Enemy (2013), at the 2nd Canadian Screen Awards. The film also won the $100,000 cash prize from the Toronto Film Critics Association for 'Best Canadian Film of the Year' in 2015.[13]

In May 2014, it was revealed Villeneuve would direct the film Arrival, based on the short story Story of Your Life by author Ted Chiang, from an adapted script by Eric Heisserer,[14] with Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner starring in the film.[15] Principal photography on the film began on June 7, 2015 in Montreal.[16]

Villeneuve directed the crime thriller film Sicario, scripted by Taylor Sheridan,[17] and starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin.[18] The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[19] It screened to positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 and went on to become a commercial success, grossing nearly $80 million worldwide.[20]

In February 2015, it was announced that Villeneuve would direct the sequel to Blade Runner (1982).[21] Harrison Ford will reprise his role, and it will take place several decades after the original. Ridley Scott is set to produce the film for Warner Bros.[22]

Villeneuve is set to direct the adaptation of Jo Nesbø's crime novel The Son.[23]


Year Film Type Other notes
1988 La Course Destination Monde Documentary
1994 REW-FFWD Short Produced by the National Film Board of Canada[24]
1996 Cosmos Short Presented at Directors' FortnightCannes Film Festival
1998 August 32nd on Earth Feature Un Certain Regard section—Cannes Film Festival
2000 Maelström Feature FIPRESCI PrizeBerlin International Film Festival
2008 Next Floor Short Short Film Palme d'OrCannes Film Festival
2009 Polytechnique Feature Presented at Cannes Film Festival
2010 Incendies Feature Nominated—Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
2013 Prisoners Feature Premiered at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival
2014 Enemy Feature Premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival
2015 Sicario Feature Premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
2016 Arrival[14] Feature Premiered at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival
2017 Blade Runner 2049[25] Feature Post-production


Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2011 Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film Incendies Nominated
2011 Genie Awards Best Direction Won
2011 Genie Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Won
2011 Jutra Awards Best Direction Won
2011 Jutra Awards Best Screenplay Won
2011 Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Director of a Canadian Film Won
2012 British Academy Film Awards Best Film Not in the English Language Nominated
2013 National Board of Review Top Ten Films Prisoners Won
2014 People's Choice Awards Favorite Dramatic Movie Nominated
Empire Awards Best Thriller Nominated
2015 National Board of Review Top Ten Films Sicario Won
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Nominated
2016 Satellite Awards Best Film Nominated


  1. ^ "Polytechnique sweeps Genie Awards". Toronto Star, April 12, 2010.
  2. ^ "Villeneuve’s Incendies wins eight Genies, including best picture". The Globe and Mail, March 10, 2011.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Vlessing, Etan (September 22, 2010). "Canada picks 'Incendies' to vie for Oscar". hollywoodreporter. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  6. ^ "Nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards". Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  7. ^ "Variety taps Canadians among directors to watch". CBC News. January 3, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Genie Awards: It's "Incendies" and the Red Carpet – Blog – The Film Experience". Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  9. ^ Holden, Stephen (December 14, 2011). "2011 Films: 'Melancholia,' 'Tree of Life,' 'Moneyball'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  10. ^ Villeneuve, Denis. "Denis Villeneuve, 2011 National Arts Centre Award". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  11. ^ "11-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins talks 'Prisoners' and the upcoming 'Unbroken'". HitFix. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  12. ^ "Prisoners". IMDb. 
  13. ^ "Villeneuve's Enemy wins $100,000 Toronto critics' prize for best Canadian film of 2014". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  14. ^ a b "Cannes: Paramount Confirms 'Story Of Your Life' Acquisition; $20 Million Is Fest Record Deal". Deadline. May 14, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Jeremy Renner Joins Amy Adams in Sci-Fi 'Story of Your Life'". The Hollywood Reporter. March 6, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner spotted in Montreal as Hollywood filming heats up". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  17. ^ "Denis Villeneuve in Talks To Direct Mexican Crime Drama Sicario for Black Flag". December 6, 2013. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Josh Brolin to Star Opposite Emily Blunt in Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario'". May 30, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  19. ^ "2015 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Sicario (2015) – Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  21. ^ "'Blade Runner' Sequel Has Found Its Director!". February 26, 2015. Retrieved February 26, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Denis Villeneuve in Talks to Direct 'Blade Runner' Sequel". February 26, 2015. Retrieved February 26, 2015. 
  23. ^ McNary, Dave (May 26, 2016). "Jake Gyllenhaal, Denis Villeneuve to Reunite for Crime Drama 'The Son'". Variety. Retrieved October 7, 2016. 
  24. ^ "REW-FFWD" (Online film). National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved April 19, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Harrison Ford to Return for 'Blade Runner' Sequel Directed by Denis Villeneuve" (Online article). Variety. Retrieved February 27, 2015. 

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