Director, Screenwriter 1949, Portugal.
João Botelho started working in cinema in the late 1970s, with a few collective documentaries and the short-film Alexandre e Rosa (1978), before directing his first feature, Conversa Acabada, a film about the correspondence between Portuguese poets Fernando Pessoa and Mário Sá-Carneiro, which premiered as part of the Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in 1982. In the film, Botelho looks at Portugal through the eyes of its biggest modernist poets, trying to do with cinema what Pessoa did with writing. This film was described by the portuguese film critic Mário Jorge Torres as "a bold experiment of making poems and letters exchanged between Fernando Pessoa and Mário de Sá-Carneiro into moving images".

Conversa Acabada was then followed by Um Adeus Português (1985), which many refer to as the greatest film ever made about the Portuguese colonial war and Tempos Difíceis (1988), an adaptation of Charles Dickens novel Hard Times to the realities of Portugal. He also forayed into comedy with Tráfico (1998) and The Woman Who Believed She Was President of the United States (2003), and adapted works of Garrett (Who Are You?, 2000), Diderot (The Fatalist, 2005), Agustina Bessa-Luís (True and Tender Is the North, 2008), again Pessoa with Disquiet (2010) and Eça de Queirós (Os Maias: Cenas da Vida Romântica), the biggest portuguese film at the box-office in 2014, with more than 100 000 entries.

Recently Botelho directed O Cinema, Manoel de Oliveira e Eu, a cinematic love letter to Manoel de Oliveira, who had a role in Conversa Acabada and has been an essential cinematic reference for his work, the film premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in 2016.

Last year, he directed Peregrinação, an adaptation of Fernão Mendes Pinto's classic memoir which has been chosen to be Portugal's entry for the Oscars and Goya Awards in 2019. With a body of work consisting of more than 30 films, both fiction and documentary, João Botelho is one of the most important and prolific portuguese filmmakers of the last decades.

João Botelho will be in attendance and LEFFEST will honour his work with a complete retrospective of his body of work, the first ever in Portugal.