Widely acclaimed as Portugal's greatest living filmmaker, Pedro Costa was born in Lisbon in 1959. A History student at the University of Lisbon, he gave up his studies to attend the classes of poet and director António Reis at the Lisbon Theatre and Film School, where he ended up enrolling, and soon worked as an assistant director to Jorge Silva Melo, Vítor Gonçalves and João Botelho. His first feature film, O Sangue, had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 1989, and already displayed the distinctive tone of a work marked by both political and poetic attention to marginalised lives. His second film, Casa de Lava (1994), shot in Cape Verde, was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. This was followed by the famous Fontaínhas trilogy, consisting of Ossos (1997), In Vanda's Room (2000) and Colossal Youth (2006), in which he portrays the lives of the men and women – immigrant, racialised, impoverished – who inhabit this slum neighbourhood on the outskirts of Lisbon. Costa also directed Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? (2002), with Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, and Change Nothing (2009), with actress Jeanne Balibar. In 2012, he was part of the collective feature film Centro Histórico, alongside Manoel de Oliveira, Aki Kaurismäki and Víctor Erice. In 2014, Horse Money won the Golden Leopard for Best Direction at the Locarno Film Festival and, in 2019, Vitalina Varela won the Golden Leopard for Best Film at the same festival.

© Photo by João Pina