Guillermo del Toro Gómez (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡiˈʝeɾmo ðel ˈtoɾo]; born October 9, 1964) is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist. In his filmmaking career, del Toro has alternated between Spanish-language dark fantasy pieces, such as the gothic horror films The Devil's Backbone (2001) and Pan's Labyrinth (2006), and more mainstream American action films, such as the vampire superhero action film Blade II (2002), the supernatural superhero film Hellboy (2004), its sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), and the science fiction monster film Pacific Rim (2013). His latest film, The Shape of Water (2017), received critical acclaim and won a Golden Lion at the 74th Venice International Film Festival, as well as number of awards and nominations at the 75th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Director for him. In addition to his directing works, del Toro is also known as a prolific producer. His producing credits include films such as The Orphanage (2007), Julia's Eyes (2010), Biutiful (2010), Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), Puss in Boots (2011), and Mama (2013). He was originally chosen by Peter Jackson to direct The Hobbit film series; he left the project due to production problems but was still credited as co-writer for his contributions to the script. Del Toro's work is characterised by a strong connection to fairy tales and horror, with an effort to infuse visual or poetic beauty. He has a lifelong fascination with monsters, which he considers symbols of great power. Del Toro is known for his use of insectile and religious imagery, the themes of Catholicism and celebrating imperfection, underworld and clockwork motifs, practical special effects, dominant amber lighting, and his frequent collaborations with actors Ron Perlman and Doug Jones. He is also close friends with fellow Mexican filmmakers Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu, collectively known as "The Three Amigos of Cinema".