Sturla Gunnarsson was born in Iceland in 1951. He moved to Vancouver with his parents when he was seven years old. As he grew up he became interested in filmmaking and went to the University of British Columbia where he completed undergraduate studies in English literature and graduate work in film studies. Part of the graduate program requires the production of a film. His, titled A Day Much Like the Others, went on to win top honours at the Canadian Student Film Festival and the European Student Film Festival. Icing on the cake was a screening at the Museum of Modern Art. With his formal education behind him, Sturla moved to Toronto and worked initially at the National Film Board. His first project for them, After the Axe, received an Oscar nomination for Best Short Documentary. He has since won a number of awards including Emmy Award, Genie Award and Gemini Awards, a Prix Italia, and the Prix Villes de Cannes.