Born in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1969, he is a graduate from the Center for Studies in Communication Sciences and later from the University Center for Cinematographic Studies (CUEC) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. In 2007, his first feature, Blue Eyelids, is nominated to the Caméra d'Or of the 60th Cannes Film Festival as part of the official selection of the International Critics' Week. The film participates in many festivals and receives, among others, the award for Best Ibero-American Film, Best Screenplay and the Mezcal Award in the 22nd Guadalajara International Film Festival, the Ariel for Best First Feature and the Special Jury Award at Sundance and Miami, both in 2008. His feature documentary Being: Café Tacvba premiers in 2010, a film on the 20th anniversary of Mexico's most important rock band. And in 2015 his third film hits the theaters, The Obscure Spring, winning the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film and the Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance, awarded to the main cast, at the 32nd Miami International Film Festival. It also won three Ariel awards (editing, music and sound) and was nominated in seven other categories by the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences. In 2016, he directed the episode "Eroticism", starring Irène Jacob, part of the feature film Tales of Mexico, produced by Machete Producciones. His latest film, I Dream in Another Language, a project that received the Sundance Institute / Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award, and supported by the National System of Creators, received the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2017. Alongside his filmmaking, Contreras has been General Director for documentary series for NatGeo and HBO.