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 53)
Gentilly, Quebec, Canada
Occupation Director, filmmaker, screenwriter
Years active 1994–present

Denis Villeneuve (French: [dəni vilnœv]; born October 3, 1967) is a French-Canadian film director and writer. He is a three-time winner of the Genie Award for Best Director, for Maelström in 2001, Polytechnique in 2010[1] and Incendies in 2011.[2] All three films also won the Best Picture award.

Early life

Villeneuve was born in Gentilly near Trois-Rivières, Quebec.


Villeneuve began his career making short films and won the Radio-Canada's youth film competition "La Course Europe-Asie" in 1990–91.[3]


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[4] and was eventually nominated for the award.[5] In January 2011 he was selected as one of the top ten filmmakers to watch.[6] The film went on to win eight awards at the 31st Genie Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Lubna Azabal), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Overall Sound and Sound Editing.[7]

Incendies was named by the New York Times as one of the '10 Best Films of 2011.'[8]

Villeneuve followed Incendies with the popular film Prisoners (2013), 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.[9] Prisoners is currently ranked #230 on's 'Top 250 Films Of All Time' list, which is ranked by popular vote.[10]

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.[11]

In May 2014, it was revealed Villeneuve would direct the film Story of Your Life, based on the short story by author Ted Chiang, from an adapted script by Eric Heisserer.[12] Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner star in the film.[13] Principal photography on the film began on June 7, 2015 in Montreal.[14]

Villeneuve directed the crime thriller film Sicario, scripted by Taylor Sheridan,[15] and starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, and Josh Brolin.[16] The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[17] 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.[18]

In February 2015, it was announced that Villeneuve would direct the sequel to Blade Runner.[19] 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.[20] Ryan Gosling has been rumoured to star alongside Ford.


Year Film Type Other notes
1994 REW-FFWD short Produced by the National Film Board of Canada[21]
1996 Cosmos short Presented at Directors' Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival
1998 Un 32 août sur terre Un Certain Regard section, Cannes Film Festival
2000 Maelström FIPRESCI Prize, Berlin International Film Festival
2008 Next Floor short Prize of Best Short Film, Cannes Film Festival
2009 Polytechnique Presented at Cannes Film Festival
2010 Incendies Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011
2013 Prisoners Premiered at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival
2013 Enemy Premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival
2015 Sicario Premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
2016 Story of Your Life[12] Filming
TBA Untitled Blade Runner sequel[22] Pre-production

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2011 Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film Incendies Nominated
2012 BAFTA 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 Pending


  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.
  4. Vlessing, Etan (September 22, 2010). "Canada picks 'Incendies' to vie for Oscar". hollywoodreporter. Retrieved 2010-09-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards". Retrieved 2011-01-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Variety taps Canadians among directors to watch". CBC News. January 3, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Genie Awards: It's "Incendies" and the Red Carpet - Blog - The Film Experience". Retrieved 2015-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Holden, Stephen (2011-12-14). "2011 Films: 'Melancholia,' 'Tree of Life,' 'Moneyball'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "11-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins talks 'Prisoners' and the upcoming 'Unbroken'". HitFix. Retrieved 2015-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Villeneuve's Enemy wins $100,000 Toronto critics' prize for best Canadian film of 2014". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Cannes: Paramount Confirms 'Story Of Your Life' Acquisition; $20 Million Is Fest Record Deal". Deadline. 14 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Jeremy Renner Joins Amy Adams in Sci-Fi 'Story of Your Life'". The Hollywood Reporter. 6 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner spotted in Montreal as Hollywood filming heats up". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2015-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Denis Villeneuve In Talks To Direct Mexican Crime Drama Sicario for Black Flag". 6 December 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Josh Brolin to Star Opposite Emily Blunt in Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario'". 30 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "2015 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 16 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Sicario (2015) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 2015-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "'Blade Runner' Sequel Has Found Its Director!". 26 February 2015. Retrieved 26 Feb 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Denis Villeneuve In Talks to Direct 'Blade Runner' Sequel". 26 February 2015. Retrieved 26 Feb 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "REW-FFWD" (Online film). National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 19 April 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Harrison Ford to Return for 'Blade Runner' Sequel Directed by Denis Villeneuve" (Online article). Variety. Retrieved 27 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links