Cultural Tidbit #5 – Filmmaker Atom Egoyan

Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Atom Egoyan was born in Egypt and raised in Vancouver, Canada.

As a teenager, he became interested in reading and writing plays and went on to study at the University of Toronto where he started learning about his Armenian heritage by taking Armenian history courses.

A four-time winner each at the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, Egoyan has directed a dozen full-length films. He earned Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for his film The Sweet Hereafter (1997).

His 2002 film Ararat relating to the Armenian Genocide garnered a lot of publicity for Egoyan. It was the first major motion picture since Henri Verneuil’s French-language film Mayrig (1991) to deal directly with the Armenian Genocide. Ararat later won the Best Picture prize at the Genie Awards, given out by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

Egoyan is married to Lebanese-Armenian actress Arsinee Khanjian and they have a son, Arshile (named after the famous Armenian painter).

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