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Atom Egoyan

Atom Egoyan

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Atom Egoyan, OC
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

  is a critically acclaimed Armenian
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

-Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 stage director and film director
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

. Egoyan made his career breakthrough with Exotica
Exotica (film)
Exotica is a 1994 Canadian film set primarily in and around the Exotica strip club in Toronto, Canada. It was written and directed by Atom Egoyan. Music used includes "Montagues and Capulets".-Synopsis:...

(1994). His most critically acclaimed film is The Sweet Hereafter
The Sweet Hereafter (film)
The Sweet Hereafter is a 1997 Canadian film written and directed by Atom Egoyan. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Russell Banks.-Plot:...

(1997), and his biggest commercial success is Chloe
Chloe (film)
Chloe is a 2009 erotic thriller directed by Atom Egoyan, a remake of the 2004 French film Nathalie.... This version stars Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, and Amanda Seyfried in the title role...

(2009).

Egoyan has been nominated for two Academy Awards
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 - The Sweet Hereafter for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. He also won several awards at Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

, Toronto International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival is a publicly-attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2010, 339 films from 59 countries were screened at 32 screens in downtown Toronto venues...

 and Genie Awards.

His work often explores themes of alienation
Social alienation
The term social alienation has many discipline-specific uses; Roberts notes how even within the social sciences, it “is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship”...

 and isolation
Solitude
Solitude is a state of seclusion or isolation, i.e., lack of contact with people. It may stem from bad relationships, deliberate choice, infectious disease, mental disorders, neurological disorders or circumstances of employment or situation .Short-term solitude is often valued as a time when one...

, featuring characters whose interactions are mediated through technology, bureaucracy or other power structures. Egoyan's films often follow non-linear plot-structures, in which events are placed out of sequence in order to elicit specific emotional reactions from the audience by withholding key information.

In 2008 Egoyan received the Dan David Prize
Dan David Prize
The Dan David Prize annually awards 3 prizes of $1 million each awarded by the Dan David Foundation and Tel Aviv University to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in the fields of science, technology, culture or social welfare. There are three prize categories - past, present and...

 for "Creative Rendering of the Past".

Life and career


Egoyan was born Atom Yeghoyan in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, the son of Shushan (née Devletian) and Joseph Yeghoyan, artists who operated a furniture store. His parents were Armenian
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

-Egyptians, and he was named Atom to mark the completion of Egypt's first nuclear reactor. In 1962, however, his parents left Egypt for Canada, where they settled in Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. The city has a population of about 78,000 within the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, which has a population of 360,063, the 15th most populous Canadian...

, and changed their last name to Egoyan. Atom and his sister, Eve, now a concert pianist based in Toronto, were raised by their parents in British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

.

As a boy, Atom's desire for assimilation into Canadian society and his struggle with his father led him to reject his family's Armenian culture. However, years later, when he attended the University of Toronto, he began to study Armenian history.

As a teenager, he became interested in reading and writing plays. Significant influences included Samuel Beckett
Samuel Beckett
Samuel Barclay Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour.Beckett is widely regarded as among the most...

 and Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter, CH, CBE was a Nobel Prize–winning English playwright and screenwriter. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party , The Homecoming , and Betrayal , each of which he adapted to...

. Egoyan also attributes his future in the film industry to the film Persona
Persona (film)
Persona is a film by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, released in 1966, and starring Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann. Bergman held this film to be one of his most important; in his book Images, he writes: "Today I feel that in Persona—and later in Cries and Whispers—I had gone as far as I could go...

, which he viewed at age fourteen, according to an interview he had with journalist Robert K. Elder
Robert K. Elder
Robert K. Elder is an American journalist, author and film columnist.- Early life and education :A Montana native, Elder interviewed Ken Kesey for his high school newspaper. The author encouraged Elder to attend his alma mater, the University of Oregon, which Elder did two years later...

 for The Film That Changed My Life
The Film That Changed My Life
The Film That Changed My Life is a non-fiction collection of interviews compiled by American journalist, author and film columnist Robert K. Elder...

.

It gave me an incredible respect for the medium and its possibilities. To me, Persona marries a pure form and a very profound vision with absolute conviction. It’s very inspiring. I felt that it was able to open a door that wasn’t there before.


He graduated from Trinity College
University of Trinity College
The University of Trinity College, informally referred to as Trin, is a college of the University of Toronto, founded in 1851 by Bishop John Strachan. Trinity was intended by Strachan as a college of strong Anglican alignment, after the University of Toronto severed its ties with the Church of...

 at the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

. It was at Trinity College that Egoyan came into contact with Harold Nahabedian, the Armenian-Canadian Anglican Chaplain of Trinity College. In interviews Egoyan credited Nahabedian for introducing him to the language and history of his ethnic heritage.

Egoyan is now based in Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, where he lives with his wife Arsinée Khanjian
Arsinée Khanjian
Arsinée Khanjian is an Armenian-Canadian actress and producer. In addition to her independent work and stage roles, she is regularly cast by her husband, Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, in his films...

, a trilingual (English, French and Armenian) Armenian-Canadian actress who appears in many of Egoyan's films, and their son, Arshile (named after the Armenian-American painter Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky was an Armenian-born American painter who had a seminal influence on Abstract Expressionism. As such, his works were often speculated to have been informed by the suffering and loss he experienced of the Armenian genocide.-Early life:...

), who attends the Toronto French School
Toronto French School
The Toronto French School , founded in 1962 , is an independent, bilingual, co-educational, non-denominational school in midtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Elizabeth II, as Queen of Canada, is the royal patron of the school....

. In 1999, Atom Egoyan was made an Officer of the Order of Canada
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

.

Egoyan has directed a dozen full-length films, several television episodes, and a few shorter pieces. His early work was based on his own material. In 1984, his debut film "Next of Kin" worldpremiered at the International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg
International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg
Mannheim-Heidelberg International Filmfestival is an annual film festival held jointly by the cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg in Baden-Württemberg. The festival was established in 1952. In Mannheim there are six cinema centres and 19 single cinemas.The festival presents arthouse films of...

 and won a major prize. He received some notice for the film Exotica (1994), but it was Egoyan's first attempt at adapted material that resulted in his best-known work, The Sweet Hereafter
The Sweet Hereafter (film)
The Sweet Hereafter is a 1997 Canadian film written and directed by Atom Egoyan. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Russell Banks.-Plot:...

(1997), which earned him universal critical acclaim and Academy Award
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

He also directed Sarabande
Inspired by Bach
Inspired by Bach, a Sony Classical and Rhombus Media production as part of Sony Classical celebrates Bach series, presents contemporary cellist Yo-Yo Ma performing the six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by Johann Sebastian Bach in collaboration with artists from different disciplines, in a set of...

featuring Khanjian, Lori Singer
Lori Singer
Lori Singer is an American actress. She is perhaps best known for her role as Ariel Moore, the female lead in the 1984 feature film Footloose, and as Julie Miller in the television series Fame.-Film and television career:...

, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma is an American cellist, virtuoso, and orchestral composer. He has received multiple Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts in 2001 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011...

's performance of Bach's
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 Fourth Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, as part of the latter's Inspired by Bach
Inspired by Bach
Inspired by Bach, a Sony Classical and Rhombus Media production as part of Sony Classical celebrates Bach series, presents contemporary cellist Yo-Yo Ma performing the six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by Johann Sebastian Bach in collaboration with artists from different disciplines, in a set of...

film series for Sony Classical.

The film Ararat (2002) generated much publicity for Egoyan. After Henri Verneuil
Henri Verneuil
Henri Verneuil was a French-Armenian playwright and filmmaker, who enjoyed a successful career in France.-Biography:...

's French-language film Mayrig
Mayrig
Mayrig is a 1991 semi-autobiographical film written and directed by French-Armenian filmmaker Henri Verneuil. The film's principal cast includes Claudia Cardinale and Omar Sharif...

(1991), it was the first major motion picture to deal directly with the Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide
The Armenian Genocide—also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as the Great Crime—refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I...

. Ararat later won the Best Picture prize at the Genie Awards.

In 2004 Egoyan opened Camera Bar, a 50-seat cinema-lounge on Queen Street West
Queen Street West
Queen Street West describes both the western branch of Queen Street, a major east-west thoroughfare, and a series of neighbourhoods or commercial districts, situated west of Yonge Street in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Queen Street begins in the west at the intersection of King Street, The...

 in Toronto.

In 2005 Atom Egoyan joined the faculty of the media and communications division at European Graduate School
European Graduate School
The European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland is a privately funded graduate school founded by the non-profit European Foundation of Interdisciplinary Studies. Its German name is Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien...

 (EGS) in Saas-Fee
Saas-Fee
Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, or the Saas Valley, and is a municipality in the district of Visp in the canton of Valais in Switzerland...

, Switzerland, where he conducts intensive summer seminars. Beginning in September 2006, Egoyan taught at the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

 for three years. He joined the faculty of arts and science as the dean's distinguished visitor in theatre, film, music and visual studies.

In 2006, he received the Master of Cinema Award of the International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg
International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg
Mannheim-Heidelberg International Filmfestival is an annual film festival held jointly by the cities of Mannheim and Heidelberg in Baden-Württemberg. The festival was established in 1952. In Mannheim there are six cinema centres and 19 single cinemas.The festival presents arthouse films of...

.

Later, he directed the erotic thriller Chloe
Chloe (film)
Chloe is a 2009 erotic thriller directed by Atom Egoyan, a remake of the 2004 French film Nathalie.... This version stars Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, and Amanda Seyfried in the title role...

(2009), theatrically released by Sony Pictures Classics
Sony Pictures Classics
Sony Pictures Classics is an art-house film division of Sony Pictures Entertainment founded in December 1991 that distributes, produces and acquires specialty films from the United States and around the world. Its co-presidents are Michael Barker and Tom Bernard...

 on March 26, 2010. This film grossed $3 million in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 theatrically and became one of the higher-grossing specialty films in the United States in 2010(according to Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

, "$3 million is the new $10 million" for specialty films' box office in 2010). Several months after the DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

/Blu-ray release of Chloe, Atom Egoyan said that Chloe had made more money than any of his previous films. The success of Chloe led Egoyan to receive many scripts of erotic thrillers.

Egoyan has won four awards each at the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

 and the Toronto International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival
The Toronto International Film Festival is a publicly-attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2010, 339 films from 59 countries were screened at 32 screens in downtown Toronto venues...

.

Feature films

Year Film Notes
1984 Next of Kin
Next of Kin (1984 film)
Next of Kin is a 1984 film directed by Atom Egoyan.-Cast:* Patrick Tierney as Peter Foster/Bedros Deryan* Berge Fazlian as George Deryan* Sirvart Fazlian as Sonya Deryan* Arsinée Khanjian as Azah Deryan* Margaret Loveys as Mrs. Foster...

First met Arsinée Khanjian
Arsinée Khanjian
Arsinée Khanjian is an Armenian-Canadian actress and producer. In addition to her independent work and stage roles, she is regularly cast by her husband, Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, in his films...

1987 Family Viewing
Family Viewing
- Plot :Van's father, Stan , is fond of video, always taping scenes of daily family life. But he does not take care of Van's grandmother, Armen . Although he could afford having her at home, she is spending her days watching TV in an old people's home. Van often visits her. He meets Aline , whose...

1989 Speaking Parts
Speaking Parts
Speaking Parts is a 1989 Canadian drama film from Atom Egoyan. It earned a Best Motion Picture nomination, including five others, at the 1989 Genie Awards.- Plot :...

Best Motion Picture nomination, including five others, at the 1989 Genie Awards
1991 The Adjuster
The Adjuster
The Adjuster is a 1991 Canadian drama film directed by Atom Egoyan. It premiered at the New York Film Festival.The Adjuster tells the story of an insurance adjuster who becomes intimate with his clients. The adjuster initially appears to want to help his clients but as the movie unfolds it is clear...

1993 Calendar
1994 Exotica Won the FIPRESCI Prize
FIPRESCI
The International Federation of Film Critics is an association of national organizations of professional film critics and film journalists from around the world for "the promotion and development of film culture and for the safeguarding of professional interests." It was founded in June 1930 in...

 at Cannes
1994 Cannes Film Festival
The 1994 Cannes Film Festival started on 12 May and ran until 23 May. The Palme d'Or went to the American film Pulp Fiction directed by Quentin Tarantino.-Official Selection:*Clint Eastwood *Catherine Deneuve...

1997 The Sweet Hereafter
The Sweet Hereafter (film)
The Sweet Hereafter is a 1997 Canadian film written and directed by Atom Egoyan. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Russell Banks.-Plot:...

Won three awards at Cannes
1997 Cannes Film Festival
-Jury:*Isabelle Adjani *Gong Li *Mira Sorvino *Paul Auster *Tim Burton *Luc Bondy *Patrick Dupond *Mike Leigh *Nanni Moretti *Michael Ondaatje -Feature film competition:...

1999 Felicia's Journey
Felicia's Journey
Felicia's Journey is a 1999 film starring Elaine Cassidy and Bob Hoskins, based on a prize winning 1994 novel by William Trevor. It was directed by Atom Egoyan...

Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

 nomination at Cannes
1999 Cannes Film Festival
The 52nd Cannes Film Festival was held on May 12-23, 1999. The Palme d'Or went to the French-Belgian film Rosetta by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.-Jury:* David Cronenberg * André Téchiné * Barbara Hendricks...

2002 Ararat
Ararat (film)
Ararat is a 2002 film directed, written, and co-produced by Atom Egoyan based loosely on the Siege of Van during the Armenian Genocide, an event that is disputed by the government of Turkey. In addition to exploring the human impact of that specific historical event, the film also examines the...

2005 Where the Truth Lies
Where the Truth Lies
Where the Truth Lies is a 2005 Canadian/British drama film, written and directed by Atom Egoyan. It stars Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, and Alison Lohman, and is based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Rupert Holmes.-Plot:...

Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

 nomination at Cannes
2005 Cannes Film Festival
The 2005 Cannes Film Festival started on May 11 and ran until May 22. Twenty movies from 13 countries were selected to compete. The awards were announced on May 21...

2008 Adoration
Adoration (film)
Adoration is a 2008 Canadian drama film directed by Atom Egoyan and starring Rachel Blanchard, Scott Speedman and Devon Bostick. It is Egoyan's first feature film since Where The Truth Lies....

2009 Chloe
Chloe (film)
Chloe is a 2009 erotic thriller directed by Atom Egoyan, a remake of the 2004 French film Nathalie.... This version stars Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, and Amanda Seyfried in the title role...


TV films

  • In This Corner (1985)
  • Gross Misconduct (1993)
  • Sarabande
    Inspired by Bach
    Inspired by Bach, a Sony Classical and Rhombus Media production as part of Sony Classical celebrates Bach series, presents contemporary cellist Yo-Yo Ma performing the six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by Johann Sebastian Bach in collaboration with artists from different disciplines, in a set of...

    (1997)
  • Krapp's Last Tape
    Krapp's Last Tape
    Krapp's Last Tape is a one-act play, written in English, by Samuel Beckett. Consisting of a cast of one man, it was originally written for Northern Irish actor Patrick Magee and first titled "Magee monologue"...

    (2000)

Short films

  • Howard in Particular (1979)
  • After Grad with Dad (1980)
  • Peep Show (1981)
  • Open House (1982)
  • Men: A Passion Playground (1985)
  • Looking for Nothing (1988)
  • Montréal vu par... / Montreal Sextet (1991)
    • segment: En passant (In Passing)
  • A Portrait of Arshile (1995)
  • The Line (2000)
  • Diaspora (2001)
  • Chacun son cinéma / To Each His Own Cinema (2007)
    • segment: Artaud Double Bill

External links