Petra Costa is a Brazilian filmmaker and theatre director best known for her documentaries. Born in São Paulo, Brazil in 1983, Petra was raised in a large family by her parents, Cláudia and Antônio Costa, both of whom were strong influences on her work.
At the age of fifteen, Petra was accepted to a prestigious film school, where she studied directing and screenwriting. She graduated from film school in 2002, and soon after began working on her first feature-length documentary, “Elena” (2008), which she co-directed with her sister, Mariella. The documentary follows the life of their mother, Elena, who left Brazil to pursue a career in theater in the United States.
In 2011, Petra released her second feature-length documentary, “Entreatos” (2011), which follows the lives of two young homeless women living in São Paulo. The film was nominated for several awards, and won the “Best Documentary” award at the São Paulo International Film Festival.
In 2013, Petra released her third feature-length documentary, “The Edge of Democracy” (2013), which follows the rise and fall of Brazil’s Workers’ Party. The documentary was a critical success, and was widely praised for its insight into the political and social turmoil in Brazil during the late 2000s. The documentary also received several awards and nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for “Best Documentary Feature”.
In 2019, Petra released her fourth feature-length documentary, “The Great Invisible” (2019). The film follows the survivors of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The documentary was widely praised for its raw and honest portrayal of the human cost of the disaster.
In addition to her work as a filmmaker, Petra is also an accomplished theatre director. She has directed numerous plays in Brazil, and has been a guest director at the Royal Court Theatre in London. She is also a board member of the Brazilian Filmmaker’s Association, and is actively involved in several charities and social causes.
Petra Costa is an incredible talent whose work has been widely praised for its insight and poignancy. Her documentaries have been seen and enjoyed by millions of people around the world, and her work continues to inspire and inform audiences all over the world.