Pedro Pires Biography

Pedro Pires was born in Nantes, France, in 1969 from Portuguese parents. He grew up in Quebec City where he soon discovered his ability to reproduce and animate characters and monsters. These experiments allowed him to develop his own techniques of molding and special effects.

In 1990, at age 21, he entered Laval University to study Fine Arts. Thereafter he received a Special Make-Up Effects Certificate from the renowned New York artist Dick Smith and completed a Computer Graphic Design Certificate at the Centre NAD – National Animation and Design Centre in Montreal.

His film debut was in 1995 with The Sound of the Carceri, a documentary by film-maker François Girard, in which he recreated the fictitious prisons of Piranesi around the cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 3D. This work won him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Visual Effects and a Gemini Award for Best Visual Effects in 1998. This enabled him to continue working with François Girard on the artistic directing of the visual effects in the film The Red Violin.

In 2001, he took on the visual conception for the film Possible Worlds, which marked the beginning of a constant artistic collaboration with the playwright, director and film-maker Robert Lepage.

In 2007 he founded his own film production company, Pedro Pires Inc., dedicated to the applications of digital technology. The following year, the short film Danse Macabre, created in collaboration with AnneBruce Falconer and Robert Lepage, propelled Pires onto the list of filmmakers to watch. Danse Macabre, for which he wore the multiple hats of director, scriptwriter, director of photography, editor and producer, was shown in more than 70 festivals and won no less than 43 awards, including Best Canadian Short Film at the Toronto Festival international Film, the Grand Prix Focus at the Festival du nouveau cinéma, and both the Jutra and the Genie for best short film.

In 2010, his short HOPE, an adaptation of Marie Brassard’s play Jimmy, créature de rêve, won awards including a Telefilm Canada prize for outstanding Canadian short, the Canal+ prize (Europe) for best short of 2011, and the International Jury Prize as best short at the Festival du film fantastique in Paris. The year 2011 also saw him collaborate with Cirque du Soleil for the first time, designing the video projections for the show TOTEM, directed by Robert Lepage. He also made his first foray into opera, creating the video images for Lepage and Ex Machina’s mounting of Siegfried, the third part of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, for New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

In 2011, he again partnered with Robert Lepage to co-direct the feature film Triptych.
The film is presented in the “Masters” section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and as the Opening Film of the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma.