Born in 1963 in Kiev, which was then part of the former Soviet Union, Perelman was an only child who lived with his immediate and extended family in a communal flat. When he was only nine years old, his father was tragically killed in a car accident. Five years later, Perelman and his mother were granted permission to leave Kiev, and arrived in Western Europe. Struggling to make a new home for themselves, they lived in Vienna for two months, followed by a move to Rome.
Remembering that time period, Perelman likens himself to the kids in Luis Bunuel’s Los Olvidados — a street urchin “always searching for a hunk of bread or a scam to pull.” He supported himself and his young mother in this fashion for a year. When a Canadian visa finally came, they left for the country where Perelman would ultimately build a new life and start his career.
Following some rather tumultuous teenage years, Perelman finally began concentrate on his formal education. He attended the University of Alberta, majoring in physics and math, before a sophomore-year class in filmmaking completely changed his focus. Moving to Toronto, he studied film at Ryerson University's prestigious School of Image Arts for two years before launching his own Toronto-based production house, called Canned Films. After honing his skills directing and editing music videos, he decided to make the move to Los Angeles to further his career.
Over the next three years, Perelman established himself as an innovative and much sought-after director of television commercials and music videos. His credits include a number of memorable spots for such multi-national clients as Microsoft, General Motors, Panasonic, Nike, Airwalk, AT&T, Sony Playstation, Coors and Mastercard.
In Perleman's mind, “the bitch goddess of commercials” was always simply a step towards his long-term goal of becoming a feature filmmaker. Having been repeatedly approached by Hollywood to direct some mainstream, high-profile fare, he has been very selective in his projects. “I don’t want to spend a year of my life working on a film that does not resonate with me on a poetic level,” says Perelman, “Since great scripts are a rare commodity, I realized that I have to create my own opportunities and not wait for the right project to come along — for fate to smile upon me.”
With that in mind, Perelman began to option the film rights to literary works. Being a prodigious reader since the age of 4, he has learned to detect a worthy story. That is how he discovered House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III before it was an acclaimed bestseller and an Oprah selection. “I closed that book after I finished it, and through the tears managed to call my agent to check into the rights.” Perelman adapted the novel for the screen himself, went on to attach Sir Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly to the project, and parked himself at the helm of his first feature film. Dreamworks acquired domestic distribution rights and released the film to great critical acclaim.
Perelman's second feature film, The Life Before Her Eyes, was shot in 2006 in Connecticut. The film, independently financed by 2929 Productions, stars Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood. It is based on the novel of the same name by Laura Kasischke. Emil Stern adapted the book for the screen. Perelman produced the film along with Aimee Peyronnet, Marc Butan, and Anthony Katagas.
Vadim is reported to be directing a movie adaption of the novel The Giver by Lois Lowry. It is also said that he has written the screenplay. As of December 2006, the film is in pre-production. On September 4, 2007, Variety reported he is directing a movie of the Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged starring Angelina Jolie.
The Ego Has Landed: Vadim Perelman, Debut Director of 'House of Sand and Fog' with Ben Kingsley, Burns Bridges as Fast as He Can Build Them
Dec 22, 2003; Byline: Sean Smith Although you've never heard of Vadim Perelman, the first-time director of "House of Sand and Fog" already has...