This weeks Directors Profile focuses on acclaimed Mexican director Guillermo del Toro. Academy Award-nominated Mexican director Guillermo del Toro is also a producer, screenwriter and designer whose work has gained both critical acclaim and a devoted fanbase. He is mostly known for his acclaimed films, Pan's Labyrinth and the Hellboy film franchise. His films draw heavily on sources as diverse as weird fiction, fantasy and war. Del Toro first got involved into film making when he was about eight years old and studied special effects and make-up. He executive-produced his first short film, Doña Herlinda y su hijo, in 1986, at the age of 21. After that, he spent eight years as a special effects make-up designer, and formed his own company, Necropia. He also co-founded the Guadalajara International Film Festival. Later on in his directing career, he formed his own production company, the Tequila Gang. In 1997, at the age of 33, Hollywood opened its doors to his talent. Guillermo received $30 million budget from Miramax studios to shoot his second film, Mimic. It was during this time, he heard that his dad, an automotive entrepreneur Federico del Toro, was abducted in Guadalajara, Mexico. Although Don Federico was released, there was so much economic pressure from their captors, to the degree that they had to pay two times the amount for the rescue. After this bitter event, his parents, siblings, and himself prompted them to move abroad and live as expatriates. Guillermo del Toro has directed a wide variety of films, from action hero comic book adaptations (Hellboy and Blade II) to historical fantasy and horror films, two of which are set in Spain in the context of the Spanish Civil War under the authoritarian rule of Francisco Franco. These two films, El espinazo del diablo (The Devil's Backbone) and El laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth), are among his most critically acclaimed works. They share similar settings, protagonists (young children), and themes (including the relationship between fantasy/horror and the struggle to live under authoritarian or dictatorial rule) with the 1973 Spanish film The Spirit of the Beehive, widely considered to be the finest Spanish film of the 1970s. In recent interviews, he has stated that he has always been "in love with monsters. My fascination with them is almost anthropological... I study them, I dissect them in many of my movies: I want to know how they work, what the inside of them looks like and what their sociology is. I have a sort of a fetish for insects, clockwork, monsters, dark places, and unborn things." In April 2008 del Toro was officially announced as director of The Hobbit in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series alongside executive producer Peter Jackson. For the next four years, del Toro, his wife, and two daughters, will live in New Zealand. As a consequence of his taking on The Hobbit, projects he had been planning to take on in the next few years, including a follow-up to Hellboy II: The Golden Army, have been put on hold. After The Hobbit and its follow-up, Del Toro was scheduled to direct four films for Universal; Frankenstein; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; a remake of Slaughterhouse-Five; and Drood, an adaptation of a Dan Simmons novel published in February 2009. He still has his sights set on filming At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft. Drood is expected to be his first project after the two films set in Middle-earth. These projects would have filled up his schedule until 2017. www.deltorofilms.com