Born in Madrid (Spain), from a very early age José combined an international upbringing with his passion for the arts, studying Law and Business in the top Spanish Law School ICADE and in other universities like Georgetown (Washington D.C.), Université Paul Valéry (Montpellier), London School of Economics and Political Science (London), and in institutions as prestigious as the Academy of International Law (The Hague).
José soon started developing professionally his passion for cinema, collaborating as a film critic for the magazine Interfilms in 1991. His writing grew over the following years, expanding to other publications such as Fila 7, Premier or Cinerama. He is also the author of several books on cinema, including the celebrated biography Audrey: Cara de ángel, dedicated to Audrey Hepburn. In 1996 he composed the music for the film Licántropo, nominated for Best Music by the Writers Guild of Spain (CEC). That same year he started a successful career in radio as film critic for the national station Onda Cero in the top show Protagonistas (presented by the legendary Luis del Olmo), collaborating later also in the La Brújula, until he launched his own show Vivir de Cine in 1999.
In the academic field, from 1997 to 2005 he was a professor of Media Law, Cinematographic Analysis and Cinema Business Studies, and Chair of Cinema in the School of Journalism and Communication at Francisco de Vitoria University, and from 2003 to 2005 he also taught the course Cinema and the Media at the prestigious ICADE University in Madrid. In 2005 José Ignacio Cuenca moved to Los Angeles, where he has established himself as one of the leading international entertainment critics and journalists.
Currently, in television, he continues to direct and produce for Spain his weekly show Vivir de Cine in Intereconomía TV (that has run for over 15 years) and is the US correspondent for the show Días de cine of the international network TVE (Television Española) that has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. He has also produced, directed and hosted the shows Made in Hollywood for Movistar Television and Inside Hollywood for Telemadrid.
In addition he collaborates with the leading Chinese network M-Time and the Europa Press news agency, while continuing to produce and direct from Los Angeles his weekly 2-hour live national radio show Vivir de Cine. He is the US cinema correspondent of the leading Spanish Online cinema website Sensacine, and he writes for the newspapers El Mundo (Cultura, Papel and Metrópoli) and Expansión (Fuera de serie).
Furthermore, José Ignacio Cuenca participates – in conjunction with the major Hollywood studios – in cinema junkets and events all over the world, frequently collaborating with the International Publicity departments of Warner Bros., Disney, Universal, Fox, Sony and Paramount, writing articles and interviews for them, and conducting their press conferences and TV interviews. Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Spain, in 2011 he was awarded in Hollywood the prestigious International Media Award (48th Annual ICG Publicists Awards) by the Publicist Guild of America.
Known as a Renaissance man and a fervent lover and connoisseur of food and wine, José was recently named President of the American Academy of Gastronomy – West, under the banner of the International Academy of Gastronomy. In 2008, teaming up with winemaker Brian Loring, he released the Californian Pinot Noir wine Mateo, named after his newborn son. Following its success, in 2009 he started making three different Pinot Noirs under the Mateo label from Santa Lucia Highlands, Sta. Rita Hills and Russian River Valley. In 2014 José Ignacio Cuenca also released his first Mateo Chardonnay from Santa Lucia Highlands and in 2015 a Mateo Sta. Rita Hills Reserve Pinot Noir. Currently, these highly sought-after and respected boutique wines are on the wine lists in the US, Europe and Asia of some of the most prestigious chefs in the world like Joël Robuchon, Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert, José Andrés, Dani García, Julian Serrano and Michael Mina, amongst others.