Russian writer/director Andrey Zvyagintsev began his career as an actor for television and stage. His feature film directorial debut came in 2003 with The Return, which won awards all around the world, including the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, where it also won the CinemAvvenire Award for Best First Feature and three other awards (confusing – were these won in venice or elsewhere). His next movie, The Banishment, was nominated for the 2007 Cannes Palme d’Or. In 2011, his third feature film, Elena, won the Special Jury Prize Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival and also earned him an APSA High Commendation for directing in 2011. As a writer, Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin won Best Screenplay in the main competition for this year’s Cannes Film Festival for Leviathan.