Atom Egoyan

Atom Egoyan

Egoyan at the Third Golden Apricot Film Festival, February 11, 2007
Born Atom Yeghoyan
(1960-07-19) July 19, 1960
Cairo, Egypt
Alma mater University of Toronto
Occupation film director, stage director, screenwriter, producer & actor
Years active 1984present
Spouse(s) Arsinée Khanjian
Children 1

Atom Egoyan, CC (born July 19, 1960) is a Canadian director (of stage and film), writer, producer and former actor.[1][2] Egoyan made his career breakthrough with Exotica (1994), a film set primarily in and around the fictional Exotica strip club.[3] Egoyan's most critically acclaimed film is the drama The Sweet Hereafter (1997),[4] and his biggest commercial success is the erotic thriller Chloe (2009).[5][6] Egoyan has been nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, both for The Sweet Hereafter. He also won several awards at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and Genie Awards.

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.[1]

In 2008, Egoyan received the Dan David Prize for "Creative Rendering of the Past".[7] Egoyan received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award, Canada's highest royal honour in the performing arts, in 2015.[8]

Early life

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.[9] His parents were Armenian-Egyptians, and he was named Atom to mark the completion of Egypt's first nuclear reactor.[10][11] 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.[12]

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.

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.[13]

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. But it was Egoyan's first attempt at adapted material that resulted in his best-known work, The Sweet Hereafter (1997), which earned him 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. 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.[1] Beginning in September 2006, Egoyan taught at the University of Toronto for three years.[14] 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.[15] 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[16] (according to Variety, "$3 million is the new $10 million" for specialty films' box office in 2010[17]). 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.[5] The success of Chloe led Egoyan to receive many scripts of erotic thrillers.[18]

In 2012, he directed a production of Martin Crimp's Cruel and Tender, starring Khanjian, at Canadian Stage in Toronto.[19]

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 last feature, "The Captive" (2014), starred Ryan Reynolds and was in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.[20]

His latest film, Remember, starred Christopher Plummer and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2015 and was later released to theatres in limited release.[21]

Personal life

Egoyan is now 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).

In 1999, Egoyan was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, it was later upgraded to Companion of the order in December 30, 2015, the highest grade of the honour.[22]


Feature films

Year Film Notes
1984 Next of Kin First met Arsinée Khanjian
1987 Family Viewing
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[23]
1993 Calendar
1994 Exotica Won the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes.[24]
1997 The Sweet Hereafter Won three awards at Cannes.[25]
1999 Felicia's Journey
2002 Ararat 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.
2005 Where the Truth Lies
2008 Adoration
2009 Chloe
2013 Devil's Knot
2014 The Captive
2015 Remember

TV films

Short films

Documentary films



  1. 1 2 3 "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.
  2. Nestruck, J. Kelly (February 23, 2011). "Canstage lures Atom Egoyan back to the stage - The Globe and Mail". The Globe and Mail. Toronto.
  3. "Atom Egoyan - The Interview". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  4. Clarke, Cath (January 21, 2010). "The double life of Atom Egoyan". The Guardian. London.
  5. 1 2 Pevere, Geoff (December 7, 2010). "The Digital Revolution: Part 1". The Star. Toronto.
  6. e-TF1. "Atom Egoyan : "Ryan Reynolds m'a semblé une évidence" - Cinéma - MYTF1News". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  7. Dan David Prize Official site, Atom Egoyan Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. "Atom Egoyan - biography". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  9. "Atom Egoyan Biography (1960-)". Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  10. Charles Rawlings-Way, Natalie Karneef (2007). Toronto (3rd ed.). Footscray, Vic., Australia: Lonely Planet. p. 28. ISBN 9781740598354.
  11. "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.
  12. Interview with Eleanor Wachtel on CBC Radio One's programme Ideas on February 9, 2010. cf. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
  13. 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.
  14. Teaching gig just another way to be creative, Egoyan says, August 17, 2006, CBC Arts
  15. "Atom Egoyan biography". Ryerson University Faculty of Communication and Design. Ryerson University.
  17. Stewart, Andrew (April 24, 2010). "Specialty pics face reduced expectations". Variety.
  18. "Atom Egoyan sifts through sex thriller scripts in wake of 'Chloe'". 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  19. "Filmmaker Atom Egoyan loving his return to directing live theatre". Toronto Star, January 25, 2012.
  20. Vlessing, Etan. "Cannes: Atom Egoyan on Why 'The Captive' Will 'Redefine' Ryan Reynolds". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  21. "Remember - Gala Presentations". Toronto International Film Festival. Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  22. "Order of Canada Appointments". The Governor General of Canada His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston. Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  23. "17th Moscow International Film Festival (1991)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
  24. "Festival de Cannes: Exotica". Retrieved 2009-08-26.
  25. "Festival de Cannes: The Sweet Hereafter". Archived from the original on 2011-08-22. Retrieved 2009-09-23.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Atom Egoyan.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/17/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.