Atom Egoyan, CC (born July 19, 1960) is a Canadian stage and film director, writer and producer. Egoyan made his career breakthrough with Exotica (1994), a film set primarily in and around the fictional Exotica strip club. Egoyan's most critically acclaimed film is the drama The Sweet Hereafter (1997), for which he received two Academy Award nominations, and his biggest commercial success is the erotic thriller Chloe (2009).
Atom Egoyan in Armenia, April 2017
July 19, 1960
|Alma mater||University of Toronto|
|Occupation||film director, stage director, screenwriter, producer|
His work often explores themes of alienation and isolation, 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 for "Creative Rendering of the Past". Egoyan later received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award, Canada's highest royal honour in the performing arts, in 2015.
He was part of a loosely-affiliated group of filmmakers to emerge in the 1980s from Toronto known as the Toronto New Wave.
Egoyan was born Atom Yeghoyan (Western Armenian: Աթոմ Եղոյեան) in Cairo, Egypt, the son of Shushan (née Devletian) and Joseph Yeghoyan, artists who operated a furniture store. His parents were 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 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.
As a boy, Egoyan wished 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 and Harold Pinter. Egoyan also attributes his future in the film industry to Ingmar Bergman's film Persona, which he viewed at age fourteen, according to an interview he had with journalist Robert K. Elder for The Film That Changed My Life. In that interview, he said:
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 at the University of Toronto. 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 also wrote for the University of Toronto's independent weekly, The Newspaper, during his time at the school.
Egoyan has directed 15 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 world-premiered at the International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg and won a major prize. His commercial breakthrough came with the film Exotica (1994). He received the Grand Prix (Belgian Film Critics Association) in Brussels, The International Critics Award at Cannes Film Festival and Best Film at the Canadian Screen Awards. But it was Egoyan's first attempt at adapted material that resulted in his best-known work, The Sweet Hereafter (1997), which earned him three prizes at the 50th Cannes Film Festival - the Grand Prize of the Jury, FIPRESCI Jury and Ecumenical Jury Prizes. The film also earned Egoyan Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.
He also directed Sarabande featuring Khanjian, Lori Singer, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma's performance of Bach's Fourth Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, as part of the latter's Inspired by Bach film series for Sony Classical.
The film Ararat (2002) generated much publicity for Egoyan. After Henri Verneuil's French-language film Mayrig (1991), it was the first major motion picture to deal directly with the Armenian Genocide. Ararat later won the Best Picture prize at the Genie Awards. The film was released in over 30 countries around the world. In 2004, Egoyan opened Camera Bar, a 50-seat cinema-lounge on Queen Street West in Toronto.
In 2005, Egoyan joined the Faculty of the Media and Communications division at European Graduate School (EGS) in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he conducts intensive summer seminars. Beginning in September 2006, Egoyan taught at the University of Toronto for three years. He joined the Faculty of Arts and Science as the Dean's Distinguished Visitor in theatre, film, music and visual studies. He currently teaches at Ryerson University. In 2006, he received the Master of Cinema Award of the International Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg.
Later, he directed the erotic thriller Chloe (2009), theatrically released by Sony Pictures Classics on March 26, 2010. This film grossed $3 million in the United States theatrically and became one of the higher-grossing specialty films in the United States in 2010 (according to Variety, "$3 million is the new $10 million" for specialty films' box office in 2010). Several months after the DVD/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.
After the release of the West Memphis Three from 18 years in prison, Egoyan directed a movie about the case called Devil's Knot (2013) starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, based on a book on the case, Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt. His next feature, The Captive (2014), starred Ryan Reynolds and was in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
Egoyan is based in Toronto, where he lives with his wife Arsinée Khanjian, 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).
|1984||Next of Kin||First met Arsinée Khanjian|
|1987||Family Viewing||Won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at Locarno International Film Festival (1988)|
|1989||Speaking Parts||Best Motion Picture nomination, including five others, at the 1989 Genie Awards|
|1991||The Adjuster||Won the Special Silver St. George at the 17th Moscow International Film Festival, Best Canadian Film and Best Ontario Picture at Cinefest Sudbury (1991)|
|1993||Calendar||Won the Special Jury Prize at Taormina International Film Festival (1993)|
|1994||Exotica||Won the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes.|
|1997||The Sweet Hereafter||Won Grand Prize of the Jury, FIPRESCI Jury and Ecumenical Jury Prizes at Cannes. (1997)|
|1999||Felicia's Journey||Won the Best Adapted Screenplay at Genie Awards (2000)|
|2002||Ararat||Won Best Picture at the 2003 Genie Awards for best Canadian film; also won Genies for costume design and original score; in addition, Arsinée Khanjian won the best actress award and Elias Koteas best supporting actor at the 2003 Genie Awards. Also won the Writers Guild of Canada award in 2003.|
|2005||Where the Truth Lies||Won the Best Adapted Screenplay at Genie Awards (2006)|
|2008||Adoration||Won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at Cannes Film Festival (2008), Best Canadian Feature Film - Special Jury Citation at Toronto International Film Festival (2008).|
|2009||Chloe||Nominated for the DGC Craft Award at the Directors Guild of Canada (2010)|
|2013||Devil's Knot||Nominated for the Best Film Golden Seashell Award at San Sebastian International Film Festival (2013)|
|2014||The Captive||Palme d'Or nomination at Cannes Film Festival (2014)|
|2015||Remember||Won the Vittorio Veneto Film Festival Award - Venice Film Festival (2015)|
- Howard in Particular (1979)
- After Grad with Dad (1980)
- Peep Show (1981)
- Open House (1982)
- Men: A Passion Playground (1985)
- Looking for Nothing (1988)
- Montreal Stories (Montréal vu par...) (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
- Venezia 70 Future Reload (2013)
- segment: Butterfly
- Festival du Nouveau Cinéma (2014)
- segment: L'Apparition (d'après René Magritte)
- Citadel (2003)
- "Atom Egoyan Faculty Page at European Graduate School (Biography, bibliography and video lectures)". European Graduate School. Archived from the original on 23 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
- Nestruck, J. Kelly (February 23, 2011). "Canstage lures Atom Egoyan back to the stage - The Globe and Mail". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.
- "Atom Egoyan - The Interview". Northernstars.ca. Archived from the original on 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
- Clarke, Cath (January 21, 2010). "The double life of Atom Egoyan". The Guardian. London.
- Pevere, Geoff (December 7, 2010). "The Digital Revolution: Part 1". The Star. Toronto.
- e-TF1. "Atom Egoyan : "Ryan Reynolds m'a semblé une évidence" - Cinéma - MYTF1News". Lci.tf1.fr. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
- Dan David Prize Official site, Atom Egoyan Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Atom Egoyan - biography". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
- "Atom Egoyan Biography (1960-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
- Charles Rawlings-Way, Natalie Karneef (2007). Toronto (3rd ed.). Footscray, Vic., Australia: Lonely Planet. p. 28. ISBN 9781740598354.
- "ATOM EGOYAN - BIOGRAPHY". European Graduate School. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
Atom Egoyan’s name was a symbolic choice by his parents, named after the new nuclear reactor in Egypt.
- Interview with Eleanor Wachtel on CBC Radio One's programme Ideas on February 9, 2010. cf. http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
- Egoyan, Atom. Interview by Robert K. Elder. The Film That Changed My Life. By Robert K. Elder. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2011. N. p179. Print.
- "Awards IMdB". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
- "Awards IMdB". www.imdb.com. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
- "Egoyan's Camera fades to black". nowtoronto.com. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
- Teaching gig just another way to be creative, Egoyan says, August 17, 2006, CBC Arts
- "Atom Egoyan biography". Ryerson University Faculty of Communication and Design. Ryerson University.
- Stewart, Andrew (April 24, 2010). "Specialty pics face reduced expectations". Variety.
- "Atom Egoyan sifts through sex thriller scripts in wake of 'Chloe'". CP24.com. 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
- "Filmmaker Atom Egoyan loving his return to directing live theatre". Toronto Star, January 25, 2012.
- Vlessing, Etan. "Cannes: Atom Egoyan on Why 'The Captive' Will 'Redefine' Ryan Reynolds". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
- "Remember - Gala Presentations". Toronto International Film Festival. Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
- "Order of Canada Appointments". The Governor General of Canada His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston. Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "17th Moscow International Film Festival (1991)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- "Festival de Cannes: Exotica". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-08-26.
- "Festival de Cannes: The Sweet Hereafter". festival-cannes.com. Archived from the original on 2011-08-22. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Atom Egoyan.|
- Ego Film Arts – official website
- Atom Egoyan Faculty page at European Graduate School (Includes biography, filmography, photos and video lectures)
- Atom Egoyan on IMDb
- Atom Egoyan at AllMovie
- Order of Canada citation
- CTV.ca Filmmaker Egoyan set to teach at U. of Toronto
- Discussion of Egoyan's film, Calendar by Ron Burnett
- Literature on Atom Egoyan