Mike de Leon was born on May 24, 1947 to LVN producer Atty. Manuel de Leon and Imelda Pamintuan. The gift of talent in the film industry was passed down on him as he became well-known as a director, cinematographer, scriptwriter, and producer.
Gawad Urian Awards widely acknowledged this gift and granted awards and nominations in the following films: Best in cinematography, music, editing, and sound for Itim (Black), de Leon’s first major film, as well as best director bestowed by the 1978 Asian Film Festival in Sydney, Australia; and best director for Kakabakaba (Thrilled). Itim was voted as one of the Urian Ten Outstanding Films of the Decade from 1970-1979 and Kisapmata, Batch ’81, and Sister Stella L. from 1980-1989.
Maynila, Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila, in the Claws of Neon Lights) won de Leon his first FAMAS award for best cinematography. The film was the first one he produced after he established Cinema Artists Philippines. The virtuoso also built the first company that introduced computer graphics animation for TV advertising.