Guillermo del Toro is one of a triad of Mexican directors (including Alejandro Gonzales Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón) whose work has garnered success on the international stage. Born in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico, he was predominantly raised by his grandmother. Like most Mexican households, Catholicism played a pivotal role in his upbringing and would become a strong motif in his creative work. Del Toro began studying film as a teen and quickly became interested in make-up and special effects. He worked as a make-up supervisor for nearly 10 years, while pursuing his career as a writer/director. In 1993 he wrote and directed his first feature, Cronos, which won an astounding 9 Mexican Academy Awards and the International Critics Week prize at Cannes. The success of the film caught the attention of North American studios. In 1997, Miramax offered del Toro $30 million to direct his second feature, Mimic. Not long after his first brush with Hollywood, del Toro returned to Mexico to start his own production company, The Tequila Gang, and direct The Devil’s Backbone – the first of a number of films set during the Spanish Civil War.
His most celebrated film to date is Pan’s Labyrinth, which received nearly universal acclaim. At Cannes, it was met with a 22 minute standing ovation and was nominated for 6 Academy Awards. The film, also set in the Spanish Civil War, stays in del Toro’s thematic vein of magical realism and weird fiction. With an artistic style all his own, del Toro plays with themes of monsters, religion, insects, fantasy, and imagination. His most recent venture is Mirada, a multi-media company and collaboration space designed to bring talent together to create original content (digital, television, film, etc.). He spearheads the company with long-time cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, producer Javier Jimenez, and director Matthew Cullen. Mirada is established in conjunction with Motion Theory.