On February 11, 2008 the winners of the annual Dan David Prize were announced. In addition to Al Gore and Tom Stoppard, this year’s group of prize laureates who have had “an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world” included moviemaker Atom Egoyan. Writer-director Egoyan shares the $1 million “Past” award with Stoppard and author Amos Oz.

The Dan David Prize has been awarded annually since 2000 by businessman and philanthropist Dan David. Each year specific fields are chosen within the temporal categories of Past, Present and Future.

Born in Egypt to Egyptian-Armenian parents, Egoyan has been making movies for more than 25 years. His most widely recognized film, The Sweet Hereafter starring Ian Holm and Sarah Polley, garnered him two Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Orignal Screenplay.

While this somber study of a town’s struggle to deal with a fatal school bus crash might be his most famous work, Egoyan was chosen for The Dan David Prize for his works depicting Armenian history and culture, namely his 2002 film Ararat. The film, one of the only movies ever made to breach the subject of the Armenian genocide, is a meditation not only on the effects of the atrocities claimed by the Armenian people, but also on the struggle to represent such horrors through art, as the film focuses on the making of a film about the genocide. 

All of the prize laureates will be honored at an awards ceremony held at Tel Aviv University on May 19, 2008.

For more information on the Dan David Prize visit www.dandavidprize.org.