Alfonso Cuaron

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Alfonso Cuaron

Alfonso Cuarón Orozco (Mexico City, November 28, 1961) is a director, screenwriter and producer of Mexican cinema. Winner in 2014 of the Academy Award for Best Director. He is brother of Carlos Cuarón and was married to the Italian film critic Annalisa Bugliani. He is considered one of the most promising Mexican filmmakers of his generation, along with others like Guillermo del Toro or Alejandro González Iñárritu who have also achieved international significance in recent years. It is, since September 4, 2017, the 102nd member of El Colegio Nacional.

Cuarón started directing the film Only with your partner in his native country, but international recognition came with American productions such as La princesita (based on the work of Frances Hodgson Burnett) and his fourth feature film, Y tu mamá también. Later he directed projects of big budgets and well received by critics like Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban, Children of men and Gravity, a film with which he won the Oscar for the best director, which made him the first Latin American director to obtain said award; He also won the Oscar for the best editing.

His son and brother (Jonás and Carlos Cuarón respectively), are writers and directors. Both have acted as co-writers in some of their works. He is also a friend of fellow Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu, who are described as “the three movie friends”.

Alfonso_Cuaron’s Biography

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He grew up near the Churubusco Studios in the Mexican capital. He studied high school at the Mexico University Center. He started filming at age 12 when he was given his first camera. During his studies at the University Center for Cinematographic Studies of the UNAM, he met the future mother of his son Jonah, the director Carlos Marcovich and the photographer Emmanuel Lubezki. In the CUEC he made a short film called “Vengeance is mine”; popular belief says that he was expelled from this school because the short film was in English, which is false. Cuarón was not expelled from the institution, but he decided to leave it because he did not receive the authorization so that he could market his short film.

Race in Mexico

After leaving the school of the CUEC of the maximum house of studies UNAM, it worked like employee concierge in the National Museum of Art and soon like assistant of direction in Nocaut (of José Luis Garci’a Agraz), among other films. Directed some episodes of the series of suspense of Televisa La Hora Marcada (it was at this time when he met Guillermo del Toro). Guillermo approached Cuarón and said “You stole the story of Stephen King”, Cuarón answered “Yes”, to which Del Toro added “And why, if King’s story was so good, your episode is so bad ? “… That’s how they became friends. Together with his brother Carlos he wrote the script for a movie, his first feature film, Sólo con tu pareja. The film proved to be a success and attracted the attention of Hollywood producers who invited him to work in the United States.

Race in the United States

In Hollywood he directed only a few television shows until he signed a contract with Warner Brothers to direct Addicted to Love (“Love Addicts”) with Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick. When reading the script of La princesita (A little princess) she preferred to direct this film to the one they would have offered her. The film was not a blockbuster but it was nominated for two Oscars and obtained excellent reviews, with which its producer premiered it again. After 20th Century Fox offered to direct a modern version of Great Expectations, the classic of Charles Dickens, but this time Cuarón did not have the recognition of criticism.

Back in Mexico, he teamed up with the millionaire businessman Jorge Vergara to create Anhelo Productions where he produced several films such as Chronicles by Ecuadorian director Sebastián Cordero and starring Damián Alcázar and John Leguizamo, The Assassination of Richard Nixon by director Niels Muller and starring the brilliant Sean Penn in addition to producing, also directed Y tu mamá también, which would become one of the most successful films in Mexican cinema and one of the most notorious abroad. The film, starring Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna, did not participate as a Mexican film sent to the Oscars; that year, in spite of the incorrigity of the producers and the critic, “the crime of the father Amaro” was sent, also carried out by Gael Garci’a, the tape was nominated to better foreign film, nevertheless Cuarón and its brother Carlos were nominated to the Oscar for the best original script, leaving the feeling that surely it would have been nominated for a better foreign film and with great chances of winning.

In 2004, Warner Brothers offered to direct the third film about the Harry Potter book series. The film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is currently the highest grossing of this director. Cuarón was suggested by J. K. Rowling herself for the director’s work since she was fascinated by her film La Princesita, an adaptation of one of her favorite books, which also produced Warner Brothers. Cuarón was somewhat insecure about directing the film, but when he read the script he became convinced. He had never read the books until he directed the film. Rowling assures that Cuarón directed the film so rightly that they even gave him chills to see the way he connected with the story, since he added – without having insider information – clues to future books [citation required]. Cuarón said that the two years he worked in Harry Potter were the most beautiful of his life [citation required]. He did not hesitate to leave a Mexican stamp in the film. During the scene in the sweet shop Honeydukes we can see hundreds of sugar skulls that Cuarón ordered to bring from Mexico especially for filming. We can also listen to Dumbledore hum a Mexican song by leaving Harry and Hermione after releasing Sirius Black. In the entrance courtyard of the castle there is a fountain with eagles devouring snakes. As a matter of curiosity, Warner Bros. strictly forbade any insult under contract during production.

After his foray into the world of Harry Potter, he directed Children of Men, a dystopian thriller located in the near future. In the same year, he was in charge of the production of El laberinto del fauno, which, although it was not spoken in English, achieved great recognition around the world, obtaining the Oscar for better photography, better art direction and better makeup (besides of three other nominations) and the BAFTA for best non-English speaking film and best makeup.

During the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu, signed with Universal Pictures an excellent negotiation where Universal will finance the first 5 films of Cha Cha Chá Films, a producer formed by this trio of filmmakers, this support is for more than 100 million dollars.

The first film by Cha Cha Chá Films is Carlos Cuarón’s debut feature, Rudo y cursi, which is starring Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal and the participation of Argentine actor Guillermo Francella.

Subsequently, the company declared bankrupt.

He created the production and distribution company “Esperanto Filmoj” (“Esperanto Films”, so-called because of his support for the international language Esperanto), which has credits in the films Season of Ducks, The Labyrinth of the Faun and Gravity.

Cuarón also directed the controversial public service announcement “I am Autistic” by Autism Speaks that was harshly criticized by rights groups of the disabled for their negative image of autism.

In 2010, Cuarón began to develop a science fiction movie called Gravity. He was accompanied by producer David Heyman, who worked with Cuarón in Harry Potter. Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, the film was released in the fall of 2013 and opened the 70th Venice International Film Festival in August. In 2013, Cuarón created the science fiction series, Believe, aired in the United States on NBC television as a mid-season entry. The series was created by Cuarón for Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television.

On January 12, 2014, he won the Golden Globe for the best director for his film Gravity and on March 2 of the same year he won the Oscar for the best director and best editing for that film.

He is currently recording his new film, titled Roma, in Mexico City.

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