Gavin Hood (Director, Eye in the Sky) is best known as the screenwriter and director of the Academy Award-winning South African film Tsotsi (2005), based on a novel by the acclaimed playwright Athol Fugard. The film was also nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA awards, winning the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Tsotsi was followed by Rendition, starring Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman. Next came Ender’s Game, starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis and Hailee Steinfeld.
Hood grew up around actors. His parents met while working in the theater and his early work in the South Africa entertainment industry came as theater and television actor. Persuaded by his parents to have “something to fall back on,” Hood graduated with degrees in economics and law from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In 1989 he moved Los Angeles to study screenwriting and directing at UCLA. After completing his studies, Hood returned to South Africa, where he got his first writing and directing work making educational dramas for the national Department of Health, which was just beginning to feel the impact of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. For his work in educational television, Hood won an Artes Award (a South African Emmy.) His first low-budget feature, A Reasonable Man, was based on a case of ritual murder he studied while at law school. On the strength of this film, Variety named Hood one of their “Ten Directors to Watch” in 2000.