Gavin Hood biography
Eye in the Sky Director
Date of Birth: May 12, 1963
Growing up in a theatrical family, Gavin Hood's first career choice was to study film. However, living in South Africa, he decided it wasn't an option for him, so he graduated with a law degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. While practising law, he came across a fascinating criminal law case and realized he needed to turn the story into a film. Cast in the television series The Game in 1989, Hood decided to leave law behind. In 1991 he went to Los Angeles to study screenwriting and directing at the University of California. While there, he won Screenwriting Award for his first screenplay, A Reasonable Man, based on the law case that had fascinated him. The judging panel included Steven Spielberg, Michael Douglas and renowned producer Kathleen Kennedy.
Hood returned to South Africa, where he won a South African Emmy (Artes Award) for his work in educational drama for the new Department of Health. In 1998 he made a short film called The Storekeeper, about an elderly storekeeper who takes the law into his own hands after a series of burglaries. The film garnered much notice, winning thirteen awards at international film festivals.
The success made it possible for Hood to finally co-produce and direct his feature debut based on his award-winning screenplay. A Reasonable Man (1999), in which he also starred in opposite famed British actor Nigel Hawthorne, won Best Film and Best Anglophone Film at the 2001 All Africa Film Awards. In addition, Hood won Best Actor, Best Director and the Award for Excellence in Screenwriting. The film also picked up awards at various festivals and at the 2000 Sundance Festival, Hood was named by Variety as one of their "Ten Directors To Watch."
Next, he was hired to adapt and direct an epic children's African adventure story based on a Polish novel, In Desert and Wilderness, by Henryk Sienkiewicz. Although the film was shot in Africa, it was to be filmed in the Polish language. Hood worked with a Polish translator to communicate with the actors, and the film, W pustyni i w puszczy (2001), went on to become the highest grossing film in Poland that year. It also won Best of the Fest at the 2002 Chicago International Children's Film Festival and a Bronze Gryphon at the Giffoni Film Festival.
In 2003, Hood was approached to write and direct a screenplay based on the novel Tsotsi by acclaimed South African writer, Athold Fugard. About the violent life of a young Johannesburg gang leader, Tsotsi (2006) won the People's Choice Award at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for a Screen International Award at the European Film Awards.
Hood is married to actress Janine Eser and divides his time between London and Johannesburg.