Treviño got his start as a director of Latino News and Variety programming for KCET, the Los Angeles Public Television station. He quickly transitioned to directing, producing and writing documentaries such as América Tropical (1971) and Yo Soy Chicano! (1972). In 1978, he wrote and directed the Mexican feature film, Raices de Sangre (Roots of Blood), which was heralded as one of the top 25 Latin American films of all time at the 36th Annual International Film Festival of Valladolid, Spain. In 1982, Treviño wrote and directed Seguin, a PBS American Playhouse drama about the Alamo saga told from the Mexican-American point of view. He also served as Co-Executive Producer of the PBS series Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (1996).
Treviño has received DGA Awards for directing the CBS Schoolbreak Special Gangs (1988) and the HBO Life Stories: Families in Crisis episode P.O.W.E.R., The Eddie Matos Story (1994). He has also been nominated for three Daytime Emmy® Awards for directing and three ALMA Awards, winning an ALMA for his work on the Fox series Prison Break (2005).
Jesús Treviño has been a Directors Guild member since 1980. In 1990, he co-founded the DGA’s Latino Committee, serving as committee chair until 1995. Treviño has also served as a council member or alternate on the Guild’s Western Directors Council for ten terms from 1991 to 2013. He served on the DGA National Board as a first alternate in 2005, then was elected as member of the board for three consecutive terms from 2007-2013. Other Guild service includes the DGA’s Diversity Taskforce, Negotiating Committee and the Television Creative Rights Committee.