Amenábar was born in Santiago Chile, on the eve of Pinochet's 1973 coup-de-état, such that his mother, who had already gone through the Spanish Civil War, uprooted the whole family and fled back to Spain. He grew up in Madrid and entered the Sciences Information Faculty at Madrid's Complutense University, where he was not exactly a brilliant pupil, and after numerous scholastic failures he decided to give up studying cinema -- which was not what he wanted -- and started to make cinema -- which definitely was. Since his perhaps best-known early short-film Himenóptero in 1992, in which he directed, produced, acted and wrote the script and the music, Amenábar progressed and reached his first commercial success in 1996 with Thesis, a film which undoubtedly showed that a major new director had arrived on the scene. Later Abre Los Ojos and Los Otros (The Others) confirmed his arrival in the cinematographic world. In all his films he also writes the script and the music, as well as composing the music for other films, most notably La Lengua de las Mariposas (1999). He differs from most other Spanish directors inasmuch that he does not ingratiate himself on pet themes such as national foibles or recent past history, but ventures out into other spheres and has no fears about embarking into the phantasmagorical, psychological or even quasi-surrealist.
Alejandro Amenábar won the Feature Film award at The Hamptons International Film festival in 2009 for Agora