Icíar Bollaín was born in Madrid in 1967. Her interest in cinema can be traced back to her teenage years and her roles in films such as Victor Erice’s El Sur (The South) and Manuel Gutierrez Aragon’s Malaventura (Misadventure). She subsequently appeared in Tocando Fondo, directed by José Luis Cuerda, Tierra y Libertad (Land and Freedom), by Ken Loach, and Jose Luis Borau’s Niño Nadie (1997) and Leo (2000), for which she was nominated for the Goya for Best Actress.

She made her debut as a director in 1995 with ¿Hola, estás sola? (Hi, Are You Alone?) at the Valladolid Film Festival, where she won the Best New Director award. She subsequently directed  Flores de otro mundo (Flowers from Another World) (1999), Amores que matan (2000) and Te doy mis ojos (Take My Eyes) (2003) – for which she won seven Goyas, including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film. For Mataharis, she received two Goya nominations.