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Atom Egoyan

Egoyan at the Third Golden Apricot Film Festival, February 11, 2007
Born Atom Yeghoyan
July 19, 1960 (1960-07-19) (age 49)
Cairo, Egypt
Occupation film director, screenwriter, producer & actor
Spouse(s) Arsinée Khanjian
Official website

Atom Egoyan, OC (Armenian: Ատոմ Եղոյան; born July 19, 1960) is a critically acclaimed Canadian independent film maker. 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.[citation needed]

In 2008 he received the Dan David Prize for "Creative Rendering of the Past".[1]


Life and career

Egoyan was born Atom Yeghoyan in Cairo, Egypt, the son of Shushan (née Devletian) and Joseph Yeghoyan, artists who operated a furniture store.[2] 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, Atom's desire for assimilation into Canadian society and his struggle with his father led him to reject his family's Armenian culture.[citation needed] However, years later, when he attended the University of Toronto, he began to study Armenian history.[3]

As a teenager, he became interested in reading and writing plays. Significant influences included Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter. 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 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), who attends the Toronto French School. In 1999, Atom Egoyan was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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, and 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 (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.

Beginning in September 2006, Egoyan taught at the University of Toronto for three years.[4] He joined the faculty of arts and science as the dean's distinguished visitor in theatre, film, music and visual studies.

Egoyan has won four awards each at the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.


Feature films

Year Film Notes
1984 Next of Kin
1987 Family Viewing
1989 Speaking Parts Best Motion Picture nomination, including five others, at the 1989 Genie Awards
1991 The Adjuster
1993 Calendar
1994 Exotica Won the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes[5]
1997 The Sweet Hereafter Won three awards at Cannes[6]
1999 Felicia's Journey Palme d'Or nomination at Cannes[7]
2002 Ararat
2005 Where the Truth Lies Palme d'Or nomination at Cannes[8]
2008 Adoration
2009 Chloe

TV films

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

Documentary films

  • Citadel (2003)



External links

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|Atom Egoyan]] Atom Egoyan, OC (Armenian: Ատոմ Էգոյան EA, Ադոմ Էկոյան WA) (born July 19, 1960[1]) is a Canadian-Armenian film maker. His work often explores themes of alienation and isolation. 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 important information.


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