1923 was the year the first animation film in Portugal was created. It was directed by one of the greatest cartoonists of that time- Joaquim Guerreiro. In the following years this art did not progress much, but it was after the revolution in 1974 that there was a great change and increment with new directors, techniques and aesthetics. The program 100 YEARS OF PORTUGUESE ANIMATION we will present begins with this first film ‘O PESADELO DE ANTÓNIO MARIA‘, from 1923, and finishes with one of the most recent, that was Oscar candidate in 2023. In the middle we will enjoy a group of films from directors that helped the Portuguese animation achieve the high world level that it maintains today.

Fernando Galrito
Curator of the exhibition and program

In the 1920s, Luis Nunes creates an advertising film for Pathé company. Other films follow, such as Antonio María’s political satire Pesadello (1923), Fred Netto’s Jules Verne-inspired Trip to the Moon (1929), and João Rodrígues Alves’s A Camel Story (1930). In 1931 Raul Faria da Fonseca and Antonio Cunhal create the silhouette Legend of Miragaia. Portuguese animation, however, long time remains focused primarily on advertising, with one of the main representatives, the cartoonist Artur Correia. His Best of the Street in 1967 brings him a prize from Annecy. Mario Jorge Neves and Ricardo Neto also work in the commercial animation. In 1999, Nevis creates Shshsh, an Incomplete Setup. In 1973 Correia and Neto are authors of Legend of the Dark Sea (1975), an adaptation of a folktale from the time of Arab invasion, and in 1984 Mario Vasques das Neves creates The Doctor and the Duchess. More folktale films produced by the Portuguese Cinema Institute follow. Correia and Neto also collaborate on films such as The Two Women (1977), The Corn (1979), as well as the successful series The Tale of the Fox. However, production is still negligible with only about one film per year.
Thanks to the team of the Cinanima Festival, founded in 1976, which organizes creative internships, as well as to the efforts of Abi Fejo and to the Franco-Portuguese cultural exchange, a new generation of authors emerges. This is an important moment for Portuguese animation, not yet industrialized but already with author appearances. Despite the unstable economic situation, the number of short films in the 1980s is impressive. Among the more famous authors is Abi Fejo (1956), who in 1987 founds the Filmografo studio, in 2000 Casa da animacao, in 2002 Ciclope Filmes and also a small animation museum. He is the author of films such as Robbers (1993) and Clandestino (2000). Regina Pessoa (1969) gains worldwide fame for her Tragic Story with a Happy Ending (2005), Kali the Little Vampire (2012) and Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days (2019). The Suspicion (1999) is the debut film with puppets of José Miguel Ribeiro (1966), for which he receives the Cartoon d’or award. Better known as Zepe, José Pedro Cavalheiro is also an interesting author with his Stuart (2006) and Candido (2007). Pedro Sarazina (1968) in 1995. creates Story of the Cat and the Moon, and Vasco Sa and David Dutel win the Cinanima Grand Prix with their Soot (2014).

Pencho Kunchev

1923, 3‘
director Joaquim Guerreiro

2013, 8‘
director Paulo d’Alva

1985, 3‘
director Abi Feijó

2017, 7‘
director Joana Imaginário

1986, 3‘
director Fernando Galrito, Joana Rebelo,
Paulo Simões

2022, 12‘
director Laura Gonçalves

2004, 3‘
director José Miguel Ribeiro

2022, 8‘
director João Gonzalez

2014, 14‘
director Vasco Sá, David Doutel