Isabel Coixet is a film director from Cataluña, and one of only 8% of female film directors in Spain. She has made seven feature films to date in both Spanish and English and has won a number of awards.
She was born in Barcelona and has a Masters degree in Contemporary History. After completing her studies, her first job was as a journalist for a topical magazine for which she interviewed and photographed Spanish and international celebrities. She became fascinated with the world of image and moved on into a career in advertising. She became one of the most successful advertisers in Spain and as director of her own advertising company, she has made television adverts all over the world for companies such as BT, Ford, Danone, BMW, Ikea, Evax, Renault, Pepsi, Kelloggs and many more. She also made some video adverts for the PSOE election campaign in 2008. Whilst still working in advertising, Isabel Coixet made her first feature film in Spanish in 1988, entitled “Demasiado Viejo para Morir Joven” (Too Old to Die Young) for which she won a Goya Award for best director.
Her second film, entitled “Things I Never Told You” was produced in the United States and was filmed in English using Canadian and American actors. It was also nominated for a Goya and clearly demonstrates the developing dark universal themes of her work. Her third film was Spanish “A Los que Aman” (To Those who Love) and tells the story of a doctor who falls in love with a woman who he is unable to cure and who eventually dies.
Isabel Coixet gained critical acclaim for her fourth film “My Life without Me” which was her second English speaking film and was produced by Pedro Almodovar´s production company “El Deseo”. Her most internationally well-known film to date is “The Secret Life of Words” (2005) starring Tim Robbins and Sarah Polley. This is the story of a young girl traumatized by experiences in the former Yugoslavia who finds work as a nurse on an oil rig and cares for a worker who is temporarily blind. In her work Isable Coixet uses universal ideas such as displacement and survival which enable her to transcend localized or stereotyped themes and has given her complete creative freedom.
In 2006 Isabel Coixet was co-founder of the Spanish Association of Women Filmmakers whose aim is to encourage and promote the work of women in a world still strongly dominated by men. She states: “I’m comfortable with the word ‘feminist’ because half the world isn’t getting what it deserves. Women blame themselves for everything that is wrong, and men never do that. We have to stop blaming ourselves for what we don’t have and start asking for what we deserve – whether it’s more money or more work or whatever.”