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David Cronenberg's body of work includes the following films as screenwriter and director; Shivers, Rabid, Fast Company, The Brood, Scanners, Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Crash,and eXistenZ. The films he has directed from screenplays by other writers are The Dead Zone, M. Butterfly, Spider, A History of Violence (which he also produced), and now Eastern Promises.
The Toronto native's films have won him awards and recognition worldwide. In June 2001, he received an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from the University of Toronto. In 1990, France bestowed upon him the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, and then in 1997 the Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. In 2005, he was named a GQ "Man of the Year"; received the Sonny Bono Visionary Award at the Palm Springs Film Festival; was given the Billy Wilder Award by the National Board of Review; and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Stockholm Film Festival. In July 2006, he guest-curated the exhibition "Andy Warhol/Supernova: Stars, Deaths and Disasters, 1962-1964"for the Art Gallery of Toronto.
Retrospectives of Mr. Cronenberg's work have been held in Japan, the U.S., the U.K., France, Brazil, Italy, Portugal, and Canada. Books on him and his films include The Shape of Rage – the Films of David Cronenberg, The Artist as Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg, Cronenberg on Cronenberg, and a collection of interviews published by Cahiers du Cinema.
He studied at the University of Toronto, where he became interested in film and made two 16mm shorts, Transfer and From the Drain. His first films in 35mm were Stereo and Crimes of the Future, both shot in the late 1960s. In those works, he established and explored some of the themes and concerns that would characterize and define much of his later work – including violence and sexuality, reality and altered reality, and social satire and biological horror.
Mr. Cronenberg's first commercial featurewas 1975's Shivers (a.k.a. They Came From Within or The Parasite Murders), which became one of the fastest-recouping movies in the history of Canadian film. Within a decade, he was making more ambitious films, such as Videodrome and The Dead Zone, for major studios. The latter won three out of the five prizes at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival as well as seven Edgar Allan Poe Award nominations.
His next films were The Fly, a remake of the 1958 horror classic, which won the Academy Award for Best Makeup; and Dead Ringers, starring Jeremy Irons, which earned Mr. Cronenberg the Best Director award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Mr. Cronenberg's Naked Lunch (adapted and reconceived from William S. Burroughs's novel and works) brought him the National Society of Film Critics award for Best Director, as well as that group and the New York Film Critics Circle's citations for Best Screenplay. The film also won eight Genie Awards [Canada's equivalent of the Academy Award], including Best Picture and Best Director.
Among his more recent films, Crash brought him a Special Jury Prize at the 1996 Cannes International Film Festival, in addition to multiple Genie Awards; eXistenZ won the Silver Bear Award at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival; and A History of Violence, starring his Eastern Promises leading man Viggo Mortensen, received a host of accolades, including Best Director and Best Film on the Village Voice Film Critics Poll as well as two Academy Award nominations.
Among his recent short films are Camera and At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World in the Last Cinema in the World. The latter was made for the Chacun son cinema collection of films commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Cannes International Film Festival.
Mr. Cronenberg starred in the latter short, but has also acted in a number of films for other directors as a way to reconnect with being part of a film shoot after the isolation of writing screenplays. His films as actor include Gus Van Sant's To Die For, Clive Barker's Nightbreed, and Don McKellar's Last Night.
In 2008, he will be directing a new opera based on his film The Fly, at Paris's Théâtre du Châtelet and the Los Angeles Opera. Howard Shore is composing the music, and David Henry Hwang is writing the libretto.