13 March 1978
|Occupation||Screenwriter, film producer, film director, actor, art director, writer|
TED2013 speaker Martin Villeneuve studied film at Concordia University and graphic design at Université du Québec à Montréal. In 2002, he received a grant from the commercial creativity agency Sid Lee for the quality of his portfolio. In the years that followed, he worked as an artistic director with this agency and helped create award-winning advertising campaigns for Cirque du Soleil. He found the name for three shows: Zumanity, KÀ and Corteo, as well as for Guy Laliberté’s ONE DROP Foundation. When the agency (formerly known as Diesel) changed its name in 2006, Villeneuve had the idea for the anagram Sid Lee. He also directed numerous TV commercials for Cirque du Soleil, in addition to music videos and short films. As an author, Martin Villeneuve has created the comic book La voix du tonnerre (Les 400 coups, 2004), as well as the two graphic novels Mars et Avril (Sid Lee & la Pastèque, 2002-2006), which were all released to critical acclaim and multiple awards. In 2012, the movie adaptation of Mars et Avril which Villeneuve wrote, directed and produced, was brought to the big screen with success. This science fiction film, starring Jacques Languirand, Caroline Dhavernas, Paul Ahmarani and Robert Lepage, premiered at the 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech Republic. Mars et Avril was released in Canada in Fall 2012 and continues its tour of international festivals. Martin Villeneuve was nominated for best adapted screenplay at the 2013 Canadian Screen Awards for Mars et Avril, and he also won an Imaging the Future Award at the Neuchâtel International Fantasy Film Festival in Switzerland.
In 2014, Martin Villeneuve made his acting debut with Imelda, impersonating his own grandmother, for which he won the Union des Artistes’ Best Actor Award at the 12th Prends ça court ! Gala. The film also won Quebec’s Best Short Film Award at Festival Images en vues, as well as a Special Mention from the jury in the category Best Canadian Short Film at the FICFA. He is currently writing the script for a feature film based on the character to be produced by GO Films in Montreal. He is also working with European comic book masters Benoît Sokal and François Schuiten on an animated fantasy feature film, Aquarica, on a sci-fi movie with Pressman Film, tentatively titled The Other World, and on From Beyond, a sci-fi/horror feature film project written by Ray Gower and inspired by the H.P. Lovecraft short story, to be produced by Darius Films & Shoreline Entertainment.
On February 27, 2013, Martin Villeneuve gave a TED Talk about Mars et Avril at TED2013, thereby becoming the first speaker from Quebec invited to this prestigious event that took place in Long Beach, California. Prior to his talk, the opening sequence of the film was shown, as well as a three minutes overview of the steps leading from the green screen to the final images. Martin Villeneuve's talk, “How I made an impossible film,” was released on TED.com on June 7, 2013, and a month later was added to TED's movie magic list, featuring famed directors such as James Cameron and J.J. Abrams. Since then, Mars et Avril is being referred to as the “Impossible Film”, has been sold to the U.S. and is now available on GaiamTV. The film is also available on iTunes in the U.S., Canada, Francophone Europe and the UK, and other major digital platforms will follow, starting in January 2014.
- Mars et Avril, tome 1, photo-novel, photography by Yanick Macdonald, Éd. Les 400 coups, 2002 (revised version published by Diesel & la Pastèque in 2006).
- La voix du tonnerre, comic book, illustrations by Daniel Svatek, Éd. Les 400 coups, 2004.
- Mars et Avril, tome 2 : À la poursuite du fantasme, photo-novel, photography by Yanick Macdonald, Éd. Diesel & la Pastèque, 2006.
- Mars et Avril (2012)
- Imelda (2014)
Awards and mentions
- 2015: Martin Villeneuve won the Union des Artistes’ Best Actor Award at the 12th Prends ça court ! Gala for his role in Imelda.
- 2014: Imelda won Quebec’s Best Short Film Award at Festival Images en vues, as well as a Special Mention from the jury in the category Best Canadian Short Film at the FICFA.
- 2013: Martin Villeneuve gave a TED Talk about Mars et Avril – Quebec's first science fiction film – at TED2013, thereby becoming the very first French Canadian speaker invited to this prestigious event that took place in Long Beach, California.
- 2013: Mars et Avril received nine nominations in Canada (four at the Canadian Screen Awards and five at the Jutra), including one for best adapted screenplay. The film's music, composed by Benoît Charest, won the Felix in the category "Album of the year – original soundtrack" at the ADISQ Gala.
- 2012-2013: Mars et Avril was screened in more than twenty international film festivals among the most prestigious (Karlovy Vary, Mill Valley, Montreal, Mumbai, Whistler, Brussels, London, etc.) and won two honorable mentions, one at the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival and the other at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival for "incredible post-production work."
- 2011: Applied Arts Award, category "Advertising Photography – Series" for the exhibition "Dieu(X) Modes d'emploi," at the Musée de la civilisation de Québec.
- 2011: Grafika Award, category "Affiche culturelle – série" for the exhibition "Dieu(X) Modes d'emploi," at the Musée de la civilisation de Québec.
- 2008: We Love Books: A World Tour | The Best in Independent Publishing and Graphic Design: Mars et Avril volumes 1 & 2.
- 2008: Gutenberg Award, category "Books": Mars et Avril volume 2.
- 2007: Nominee, Lux Award, category "Books": Mars et Avril volume 2.
- 2006: Alcuin Society Book Design Awards, category "Prose Illustrated": Mars et Avril volume 2.
- 2004: Nominee, Bédélys Award: La voix du tonnerre.
- 2003: Nominee, Grafika Award, category "Books": Mars et Avril volume 1.
- 2002: Honorable mention, Alcuin Society Book Design Awards, category "Pictorial": Mars et Avril volume 1.
- 2002: UQAM-Diesel Award for the quality of the portfolio.
- 2002: He designed controversial film posters, most notoriously the one for Québec-Montréal, which shows the pictogram of a moose screwing a car, and which earned him the Travelling Laurentides Award for best launching campaign.
- 2001: Nominee, Création Vidéo Award, Clermont-Ferrand Vidéo Formes Festival (France): Chrysanthème (short).
- “Martin Villeneuve: How I made an impossible film”, TED, June 7, 2013
- Sid Lee website
- Martin Villeneuve on IMDb
- Hitchhike a ride on Martin Villeneuve’s future, review from The Gazette, October 11, 2012
- Mars and April // Mars & Avril, review from Variety, July 16, 2012
- Mars et Avril, review from eFilmCritic, February 14, 2013
- Sci-Fi London 2013 Review: MARS ET AVRIL Deserves Greater Attention, review from TwitchFilm, May 8, 2013
- A one-of-a-kind short fiction film, BULB, February 20, 2015
- An animated fantasy feature film, BULB, December 2, 2013
- The Other World (working title), BULB, September 5, 2014
- Martin Villeneuve's bio on TED.com
- Martin Villeneuve - Filmmaker, BULB, February 20, 2015
- Martin Villeneuve catches Hollywood's eye, CBC News, March 14, 2015
- 10 jaw-dropping images from the film “Mars et Avril,” and how the magic was created, article from the official TED Blog, June 7, 2013
- A sci-fi film with a $2 million budget: Martin Villeneuve at TED2013, article from the official TED Blog, February 27, 2013
- Quebec's first TED Talk, article from Cult Montreal, June 7, 2013
- 3 Things You Need to Make an Impossible Movie, article from Film School Rejects, July 1, 2013
- Making an Impossible Film: How Director Martin Villeneuve Brought His Sci-Fi Drama to Life, article from No Film School, June 14, 2013
- 10 talks about the making of movie magic
- Mars et Avril on GaiamTV, September 13, 2013
- Spend the weekend watching the impossible (and beautiful) Mars & Avril, review from io9, December 6, 2013
- A futuristic tale of fantasy and desire, BULB, December 2, 2013
- Official Trailer for Imelda, December 12, 2014
- Quebec filmmaker gives a TED Talk, Martin Villeneuve on Bernard St-Laurent's show "C’est la vie" on CBC Radio One, June 16, 2013
- Benoît Charest: How music can set you free, BULB, December 2, 2013