ISABEL COIXET (Director) started filming when she was given a 8mm camera on the occasion of her first communion. After a B.A. degree in history at Barcelona University (majoring in the 18th and 19th Centuries), she worked in advertising and spot writing. She won several accolades for her spots, and finally founded her own production company in 2000, Miss Wasabi Films. In 1988, Coixet made her debut as a scriptwriter and helmer in Demaisiado viejo para morir joven. For this movie, she was nominated at the Goya Awards as a Best New Director.
In 1996, she made her first feature in English: Things I Never Told You (Cosas que nunca te dije). In this moving drama, the cast was comprised of American actors, led by Lili Taylor and Andrew McCarthy. Coixet achieved her second nomination at the Goya Awards for Best Original Screenplay. Then, in 1998, in association with a French production company, Coixet came back to a script in Spanish to direct the historical adventure A los que aman.
International success took place with the intimate drama My Life Without Me (Mi vida sin mi, 2003), based on Nancy Kincaid’s short story, in which Sarah Polley plays Ann, a young mother who decides to hide her terminal cancer from her family. This Spanish/Canadian co-production was strongly praised at the Berlin International Film Festival of that year. Coixet kept on working with Polley in a new movie, The Secret Life of Words (La vida secreta de la palabras, 2005), co-starring Tim Robbins and Javier Cámara. The film received four Goya Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Production and Best Screenplay.
In 2005, Coixet joined 18 other acclaimed international filmmakers (including Gus Van Sant, Walter Salles and Joel and Ethan Coen) to make the groundbreaking collective project Paris, je t’aime, in which each helmer explored a different quarter of Paris. Coixet also accomplished prominent documentaries of great concern, such as Invisibles, selected by the 2007 Berlin Film Festival Panorama section, about Doctors Without Borders; andViaje al corazón de la tortura, which was shot in Sarajevo during the Balkan wars. Viaje al corazón de la tortura was awarded at the 2003 Human Rights Film Festival.
In 2008, Elegy was released. Shot in Vancouver, it was produced by Lakeshore Entertainment, with a screenplay based on Philip Roth’s novel The Dying Animal by Nicholas Meyer, and starred Penélope Cruz and Ben Kingsley. Elegy was introduced at the 58th Berlin International Film Festival. In 2009, Map of the Sounds of Tokyo (Mapa de los sonidos de Tokio) debuted at the Cannes Film Festival as part of the Official Selection. It was shot in Japan and Barcelona, and starred Rinko Kikuchi, Sergi López and Min Tanaka, with a script by Coixet herself. That same year, she inaugurated “From I to J” at the Santa Monica Art Center; John Berger’s work installation/homage was the recipient of the Fine Arts Golden Medal. Additionally, Coixet became a member of the jury at the 59th Berlinale.
In 2010, she took on the content in one of the three Spanish Pavilion lounges for the Expo Shanghai China. In addition, she inaugurated the exhibition Aral. El mar perdido, a 25-minute “anonymous” documentary shot in Uzbekistan in 2009. In 2011, Coixet releasedEscuchando al juez Garzón at the Berlinal Specials, a section of the Berlin International Film Festival. In it, the famous judge Baltasar Garzón is interviewed by acclaimed writer Manuel Rivas. The film earned the Goya Award for Best Documentary.
In 2012, Isabel shot and produced Ayer no termina nunca (Yesterday Never Ends), which was premiered in the Panorama Section of the 63rd Berlin Film Festival and also opened the Málaga Film Festival. The same year, she also shot the English production Another Me(written and directed by Coixet), starring Sophie Turner, Rhys Ifans and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
After filming Learning to Drive (Grolsch People’s Choice Award first runner-up at the Toronto Film Festival), she directed Nobody Wants the Night, a French/Spanish/Bulgarian co-production, starring Juliette Binoche, Rinko Kikuchi and Gabriel Byrne, which opened the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.