It has been a whirlwind year for writer/director/producer M. NIGHT
SHYAMALAN. The astronomical success of his chilling psychological thriller
"The Sixth Sense" catapulted the 29-year-old into the stratosphere of
being one of the most sought after young filmmakers in Hollywood. Grossing more
than $ 661 million at the box office worldwide to date, "The Sixth
Sense" has become the 10th highest grossing film of all time and
continues to break records in home video as the highest-earning video rental of
all time. The film received a total of six Academy AwardĂ˘
nominations including one for Best Picture, and two for Shyamalan for Best
Director and Best Original Screenplay. Additionally, the film was awarded three
People's Choice AwardsĂ˘ for Favorite Motion
Picture, Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture and Best Actor for the film's star
Bruce Willis. Shyamalan also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best
Original Screenplay and was awarded "Filmmaker of the Year" at the
Palm Springs Film Festival.
Shyamalan began making films at the age of 10 in his hometown of
Philadelphia. At 16, he had completed his 45th short film. At age 17,
he stood before his parents, both doctors, surrounded by pictures of the other
twelve doctors in the family, and informed them that although he had graduated Cum
laude and received academic scholarships to several prestigious medical
programs, he had instead decided to attend the New York University Tisch School
of the Arts to study filmmaking. During his final year at NYU, he wrote an
emotional screenplay made up of personal moments entitled "Praying With
Anger" about a young exchange student from the U.S. who goes back to India
and finds himself a stranger in his own homeland. In 1992, with the funding to
make his first low-budget feature, Shyamalan shot the story on location in India
and served as the film's writer, director, producer and star. The film was
selected to be screened by the New York Foundation of the Arts' prestigious
First Look Series, and in July 1993, was named Debut Film of the Year by the
American Film Institute of Los Angeles.
The following year, Shyamalan wrote another spiritual screenplay "Labor
of Love" which he sold to 20th Century Fox. In June 1995, he was
asked by Columbia Pictures to write the fantasy screen adaptation of
"Stuart Little" based on E.B. White's beloved children's classic
of the same name.
His second feature film "Wide Awake" starring Rosie O'Donnell,
Denis Leary, Dana Delaney and Robert Loggia was released in 1997. Shot entirely
on location in Philadelphia, the film tells the story of the close relationship
between a boy in Catholic school and his grandfather. Shyamalan formed his own
production company, Blinding Edge Pictures, which is based in a suburb outside
of Philadelphia where he also currently resides with his wife and two daughters.
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