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Villeneuve, Martin

TED2013 speaker Martin Villeneuve studied film at Concordia University and graphic design at Université du Québec à Montréal. In 2002, he received a grant from the commercial creativity agency Sid Lee for the quality of his portfolio. In the years that followed, he worked as an artistic director with this agency and created award-winning advertising campaigns for Cirque du Soleil.

Martin Villeneuve

He found the name for three shows: Zumanity, and Corteo, as well as for Guy Laliberté's ONE DROP Foundation. When the agency (formerly known as Diesel) changed its name in 2006, Villeneuve had the idea for the anagram Sid Lee. He also directed numerous TV commercials for Cirque du Soleil, in addition to music videos and short films.1)

As an author, Martin Villeneuve has created the comic book La voix du tonnerre (Les 400 coups, 2004), as well as the two graphic novels Mars et Avril (Sid Lee & la Pastèque, 2002-2006), which were all released to critical acclaim and multiple awards.


In 2012, the movie adaptation of Mars et Avril (or Mars and April) which Villeneuve wrote, directed and produced, was brought to the big screen with success. This science fiction film, starring Jacques Languirand, Caroline Dhavernas, Paul Ahmarani and Robert Lepage, premiered at the 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech Republic. Mars et Avril was released in Canada in Fall 2012, toured in 20 international festivals, and received 10 nominations. Martin Villeneuve was nominated for “Best Adapted Screenplay” at the 2013 Canadian Screen Awards, and he also won an Imaging the Future Award at the Neuchâtel International Fantasy Film Festival in Switzerland for this movie.2)

François Schuiten worked as a Production Designer on the film.3)

*Mars et Avril – Trailer (HD + English subtitled)

*The Mars & Avril Experience / Making of “Mars et Avril” (HD + English subtitled)

TED Talk

Martin Villeneuve talked at TED20134) about Mars et Avril, the Canadian sci-fi spectacular he made with virtually no money over a seven-year stretch. In a charming talk, he explains the various ways he overcame financial and logistical constraints to produce his unique and inventive vision of the future.5) 6)

*Martin Villeneuve: How I made an impossible film (TED2013) – French subtitled

Prior to his talk, the opening sequence of the film was shown, as well as a three minutes overview of the steps leading from the green screen to the final images:7) 8) 9)

*Mars et Avril – Opening Sequence (TED2013)

*Mars et Avril – Creating the Visual Effects (TED2013)

Martin Villeneuve's talk, “How I made an impossible film,” was released on on June 7, 2013, and a month later was added to TED's movie magic list, notoriously featuring directors James Cameron and J.J. Abrams.10) Since then, Mars et Avril is being referred to as the “Impossible Film”, has been sold to the U.S. and is available online:

*Mars et Avril / Mars & Avril / Mars and April (Full movie in HD with English subtitles)

Martin Villeneuve by Schuiten

François Schuiten made a sketch of Martin Villeneuve during a meeting in November 2013 as they were discussing Aquarica, an animated feature film project that they had conceived with Benoît Sokal, which sadly never got made due to Sokal's death.

Martin Villeneuve by Schuiten

In 2014, Martin Villeneuve made his acting debut in his short comedy film Imelda, in the role of his paternal grandmother, for which he won three awards, including the Union des Artistes' Best Actor Award at the 12th Prends ça court ! Gala. He shot two sequels to this short, both released in 2020: Imelda 2: The Notary starring Robert Lepage, and Imelda 3: Simone starring Ginette Reno.11)

*Martin Villeneuve – Demo Reel 2023

In 2020, Jean Benoit directed a 14-minute documentary short about Martin Villeneuve's work, featuring interviews with stage director Robert Lepage, illustrator François Schuiten and filmmaker Denis Villeneuve:

*Once Upon A Time Martin Villeneuve (English subtitled)


Martin Villeneuve's second feature film, The 12 Tasks of Imelda, which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in, was released in Fall 2022. The cast includes Robert Lepage, Ginette Reno, Michel Barrette, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Antoine Bertrand, Yves Jacques, Lynda Beaulieu and Marc-François Blondin. This dramedy is based on true events and on Villeneuve's own family. Due to the filmmaker's difficulty in securing funding to produce this movie in Canada, all of the cast and crew worked on it as unpaid volunteers. The film was a hit, opening in 29 theaters across Quebec and winning the award for Best Editing in a Borsos Competition film at the 2022 Whistler Film Festival. In 2023, Villeneuve won the Best Actor award at the Festival du Film Canadien de Dieppe, France, for his role of Imelda, and the Best Director award at the Canada China International Film Festival.12)

*The 12 Tasks of Imelda – Trailer with English subtitles


In 2023, Martin Villeneuve released his animated series called Red Ketchup, based on Quebec’s cult graphic novels. Produced by Sphere Animation, this 20-episode series airs on Adult Swim in English and on Télétoon la nuit in French. On top of writing and directing the series, Villeneuve lends his voice to the character of Bill Bélisle in the French version of the show, which currently holds the top spot on Télétoon la nuit.13) 14) 15) 16)

*RED KETCHUP – Official Trailer

See also