Started his career as a production designer for movies and advertisements. Founded his own production company Center Stage Productions in 2005. Made his directorial debut with the film Masahista (2005), which won the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland. Tirador (2007) won him the Caligari Film Award at the same festival. Received the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival for the film Kinatay (2009). Competed in the Berlin International Film Festival; the movie submitted was Captive (2012). Won the La Navicella Venezia Cinema Award at the Venice Film Festival for his movie Thy Womb (2012). Received knighthood from the French government; was named Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres or Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and is the first Filipino director to have received this honor. Manoro (2006) is a part of Philippine Department of Education's curriculum for Grade 8 students.