Martin Villeneuve

Screenwriter, Director, Producer

Martin Villeneuve’s feature debut, the groundbreaking, sci-fi fantasy Mars & Avril, starring Robert Lepage and Caroline Dhavernas, cost only a stunning $2.3 million to produce and led him onto the TED stage to share the special secrets of his remarkable achievement. His TED Talk has been subtitled in 31 languages and viewed more than a million times. Mars & Avril has been described by io9 as “one of the most beautiful, and immersive, sci-fi worlds ever put on film.”

Cirque du Soleil alumnus and TED2013 speaker Martin Villeneuve is a Montreal-based screenwriter, director and producer. He studied film at Concordia University and graphic design at Université du Québec à Montréal. In 2002, he received an award from the advertising agency Sid Lee for the quality of his portfolio. In the years that followed, he worked as an artistic director with this agency and especially for Cirque du Soleil. In this capacity, he helped create award-winning advertising campaigns for shows like Zumanity, and Corteo. He also directed numerous TV commercials for Cirque du Soleil, in addition to music videos and short films. As an author, he has written and created the comic book La voix du tonnerre, as well as the two graphic novels Mars & Avril, which were all released to critical acclaim and multiple awards.

In 2012, he completed his first feature film as writer-director-producer, Mars & Avril, based on his graphic novels — world premiere in Karlovy Vary, 20 international festivals, positive reviews abroad, 3 awards, and 9 Canadian nominations including one for Best Adaptation at the Canadian Screen Awards. In addition, the sheer inventiveness of the film’s production won Martin an invitation to give a TED Talk in Long Beach, California. He is the first — and so far the only — TED speaker from Quebec in 35 years, and the third filmmaker so honored, following in the footsteps of famed directors James Cameron and J.J. Abrams.

In 2014, Martin Villeneuve won 3 awards for his short film Imelda, including the Union des Artistes’ Best Actor Award at the 12th Prends ça court ! Gala. In 2016, he directed the first episodes of the award-winning second season of Real Detective for Investigation Discovery Channel and Netflix.

Among other projects, directly linked to the success of Mars et Avril, he is currently writing for GO Films the adventure-comedy Red Ketchup, based on Quebec’s cult graphic novel series. He will once again team up with Belgian comic book artist François Schuiten when he will direct the animated feature Aquarica for Item 7. He will also direct From Beyond, a horror/sci-fi project based on the H.P. Lovecraft short story, for Darius Films & Shoreline Entertainment. With Martin Villeneuve, Quebec talent radiates internationally.