Gravity, a drama starring Sandra Bullock, was born out of the setbacks suffered by one man in the midst of the last recession: its director and co-writer, Alfonso Cuaron.

The Mexican filmmaker had already achieved international success with films like "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" in 2004 and "Children of Men" in 2006. But in 2009, financing on a new film fell apart, leaving him in the lurch.

The 51-year-old filmmaker and son Jonas Cuaron, 30, decided they would not sit around licking their wounds, and quickly got to work on a script about adversity, weaving the theme through tense and gripping action. They soon settled on space, a fascination for the Cuarons.

And that is pretty much how Gravity begins, with Bullock playing novice astronaut and engineer Dr. Ryan Stone alongside George Clooney as mission commander Matt Kowalski. Their space station is hit by debris from the demolition of an obsolete satellite, sending the two reeling into deep space with depleting oxygen and remote chances of returning to Earth.

Ryan Stone soon finds herself alone, drifting into the void, with a tragic backstory that diminishes her desire to get home.

The movie is being promoted as Bullock's film, however she was quick to put the spotlight back on Cuaron at the film's New York premiere on Tuesday (October 1) night.

"I feel like this is Alfonso's film this is his story. George and I were just very, very lucky that he let us be a part of it. I mean no one had ever done what we did. We had no idea what we were doing on a daily basis. We only had each other to sort of rely on. And to be able to do it and look across and see an old friend like George and all of us just sort of laugh and cry at the same things because we had no idea where we were - for this man that we've really come to admire and love was worth it," she told Reuters.

The filmmakers and Warner Bros. Pictures ended up spending some $80 million (£49.45 million) to make the 3D film, with technological innovations that reproduce space and zero gravity in ways never seen on screen.

Cuaron also paid special attention to the film's score, filling the stillness with a custom soundtrack.

"We also have a very cool music score that in many insistences fills that void in a music that is very dynamic. It is designed and composed for surround system. So it just makes the experience even more immersive for the audience," he explained.

"The truth is usually any kind of film like this relies on sound effects to sort of drive the film, you know, big booms and big explosions. And because there is no sound in space the sound effects are done by music. Which makes it infinitely more elegant. It makes it more of - it's just something like I'd never seen before and I was really pleased to be a part of it," said Clooney.

Bullock's performance has won praise from critics, who predict she will be a contender for another best actress Oscar.

The film opens after showing at both the Venice and Toronto film festivals to critical acclaim.

Presented by Adam Justice