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M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan

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 Award 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 Awards 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.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2000.

M. Night Shyamalan Facts

Birth NameManoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan
BirthdayAugust 6, 1970 (52)
BirthplacePondicherry, India

Selected Filmography

The Happening
The Village
The Sixth Sense
Lady in the Water
The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan
The Others/Signs
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