Renée April, C.M.
Renée April is a costume designer and leader in her field. She has worked on more than 50 Hollywood and television productions, including The Red Violin, Grey Owl, Blindness, Night at the Museum, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. She is one of the artisans raising Canada’s international profile in the film industry. She is known as a mentor in the field, guiding designers, tailors and props managers. Her creations have earned her several nomination and industry awards, notably Gemini and Genie awards. She has also designed costumes for theatre and Cirque du Soleil’s show Zed.
- Renée was born and raised in Rivière-du-Loup, and after graduating from theatre school in Ste. Thérèse, she was originally interested in set design.
- Her career in costume design began when she got the opportunity to work with noted Canadian costume designer François Barbeau on the 1977 film Angela, starring Sophia Loren.
- She fell in love with her craft because of the variety that comes with each new project, but she also enjoys the adrenaline rush and urgency of costume design.
- Renée does a tremendous amount of research before embarking on a new project. She has an enormous collection of books and costume catalogues, and she finds inspiration in works of art. She also reads a script as many times as possible before starting her research.
- Though she has worked on major Hollywood blockbusters such as Blade Runner 2049, Night at the Museum and Arrival, Renée prefers working on small period pieces with modest budgets and a great story.
- Renée has 14 award nominations and eight wins in the film industry. She has won the Gemini for Best Costume Design for her work on films such as The Hound of the Baskervilles, Tales from the Neverending Story, and Million Dollar Babies.
I fell in love with costume design because nothing is ever the same—it’s never the same era, the same story or the same characters. When I started my career, I did many smaller period pieces with budgets under $40 million that fell under the radar. The studios weren’t supervising everything we did, which meant we had more freedom. And that is always wonderful—artistic freedom can be much greater [here in Canada]. I am very, very proud to receive this award.