Mexican Director Alfonso Cuaron began his rapid rise to Hollywood when he made a ground breaking film about AIDS, "Solo Con Tu Pareja/Love in the Time of Hysteria" (1991). It was Sydney Pollack who took notice and brought Cuaron to the US for an episode of the Showtime series "Fallen Angels". The director earned a CableACE Award for his work and moved into features with the critically-acclaimed "The Little Princess" (1995) - beautifully-photographed and cited by the Los Angeles Film Critics, but audiences stayed away.
For his follow-up to "A Little Princess", he directed "Great Expectations" (1997), a modern update of the Dickens classic, starring Ethan Hawke, Robert De Niro and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Cuaron seemed to find his niche with the release of "Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too)"(2001) which was a runaway success. The movie's intoxicating spirit seemed to flow off the screen and swept audiences away, despite some controversy over its graphic sex scenes. Cuaron captured the passion of youth with this charmingly honest story of the unspoiled hearts of two boys before they become men.
The success of "Y Tu Mama Tambien" next led Cuaron to a perhaps unlikely and far more commercial project, directing "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004), the third in the J.K.Rowling series, which took close to $800 million at the box office worldwide. Prior to making “Harry Potter” and the release of “Y Tu Mama Tambien”, Cuaron had been approached by producers Hilary Schor and Marc Abraham, who had acquired the rights to author P.D. James’ 1992 novel “Children of Men.” Perhaps partly due to the events of September 11, 2001, Universal Pictures were reluctant to produce bleak films about the end of human civilization at the time – although Cuaron was interested and promised Schor he would return after “Harry Potter”.
True to his word, Cuaron returned from England after “Harry Potter” to join writing partner Timothy Sexton in reworking the half dozen scripts that were previously developed for “Children of Men”, subtly incorporating current events into a framework that transformed P.D.James’ meditation on the loss of hope into a fast paced mix of chaos, martial law and the collapse of a not-too-distant society. Cuaron and Sexton did not develop a science fiction movie, but rather one which reflected the failings of humanity and people’s lack of historical perspective.
“Children of Men” was considered by many to be the best film of 2006. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, however, shamelessly overlooked it and failed to nominate the film for Best Picture, although Cuaron did get an Oscar nod for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Cuarón also directed the controversial public service announcement "I Am Autism" for Autism Speaks that was sharply criticized by disability rights groups for its negative portrayal of autism.
In 2010, Cuarón began to develop a science fiction film named Gravity, which he has co-written, co-edited and co-produced,joined by producer David Heyman, who Cuarón worked with on Harry Potter. The film was released in 2013, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.