Teresa Prata, who The New York Times has called “a skilled storyteller with a clear, unsentimental eye,” did not start her career as a director. After getting a degree in biology in Portugal, she studied at the Theater Group CITAC and hosted her own radio program about the arts. It was while working at an art gallery that she first began making experimental video, which led to her first short film Canto Teogonico in 1990.
Born in Portugal, Prata was raised in Mozambique and Brazil and now lives in Berlin. Her best-known work, the feature film Terra Sonâmbula (Sleepwalking Land; 2007), is based on the 1992 Portuguese novel by Mia Couto about a wartime friendship. The novel struck a chord with Prata, whose childhood was colored by the civil war in Mozambique (1977-1992). She used those memories of helicopters and weapons throughout the film, which took eight years to make and featured both professional and nonprofessional actors. Terra Sonâmbula has won several awards and screened at over 24 film festivals worldwide.