Born in Lisbon in 1972, Marco Martins is currently an inescapable artist in the Portuguese artistic scene, his overarching body of work spanning several fields, from cinema to visual arts and drama. A graduate of the Lisbon Theatre and Film School, also attending Tisch School of Arts and HFF Munich – University of Film and Television, his films have been presented at major international festivals. Alice won him the Directors’ Fortnight Best Picture Award at Cannes in 2005. In 2006, he directed Um Ano Mais Longo (A Longer Year), a short film co-authored with Tonino Guerra and selected for the Venice International Film Festival. His latest feature film Saint George (2016) was once again a contender at the Venice Film Festival, awarding actor Nuno Lopes a Golden Lion (Horizons Award). Just as previously with Alice, Saint George was one of the Academy Award nominees for Best Foreign Language Film and, among others, the Goya Award.
In Drama, he founded the Arena Ensemble theatre company in 2007, and has since been artistically directing it with Beatriz Batarda.
Marco Martins stage creations in this and other contexts embrace both classical and community projects alike, such as Baralha, a Shakespeare inspired play developed inside a gypsy community; Estaleiros ENVC 2012, bringing on stage shipyard workers from Viana do Castelo (Northern Portugal), with writings by Samuel Beckett; All the world’s a stage, bringing together a cast of twenty professional and non-professional actors from eleven different nationalities or Provisional Figures Great Yarmouth, premiered at the Norwich and Norfolk Festival.
A highlight of Martins’ many collaborations with visual artists includes codirecting Twenty-One – The Day the World Didn't End with the Italian master Michelangelo Pistolletto, a multichannel video installation exhibited at the Louvre Museum and selected for the Rome Film Festival and screened at the MAXXI.
In 2002, Marco Martins founded his own advertising production company (Ministério dos Filmes), which has received several international gold awards in Festivals such as Eurobest, New York, One Show, FIAP or El Ojo IberoAmerica, just to name a few. In 2001, 2002, 2005 he received the Premio a La Trayectoria by El Ojo Iberoamericano for Best Ibero- American Commercial Director.
However, it was with the release of his first feature film, Alice, that Martins achieved the most recognition. It was not only selected for the Cannes Film Festival but it went on to win numerous awards such as: Prix Regard Jeune (Cannes), Fassbinder Award (European Film Awards- European Discovery of the Year), London Raindance Film Festival (Best Director), Festival Mar del Plata (Best Director, Best Cinematography), Mar del Plata (FIPRESCI- Best Picture), Berlin (Shooting Star), Festival Santa Maria da Feira (Best Film, Best Actor) or Festival de Cinema Mediterraneo (FIPRESCI, Best Cinematography).
In 2006, he collaborated with Tonino Guerra (who worked with Antonioni, Fellini or Tarkovsky) with whom he wrote and directed the short film A Longer Year, which was selected for the Venice Film Festival.
In 2009, he collaborated with the Portuguese artist Filipa César on her movie Insert, which went on to win the BESPHOTO award in 2010. Still in 2009, he travelled to Japan with photographer André Princípe in order to film his first documentary Traces of a Diary, which documents world- renowned photographers Takuma Nakahira, Hiromix, Daido Moriyama, Kajii Syoin, Kohei Yoshiyuki and Nobuyoshi Araki. This documentary is composed by a series of meetings with the photographers, in which the directors reflect upon nature and the act of image-making, telling stories, and on the diary process itself. It was released at the IndieLisboa Festival 2010 and was selected for several international festivals such as Goteborg International Film Festival, Era New Horizons Film Festival, the Rio International Film Festival or Traverse City Film Festival and went on to win the “Premio Honorífico del Jurado” at Documenta Madrid 2011. His documentary Jorge Salavisa - Keep Going which follows the career of one of the most prominent figures of Portuguese Culture.
In recent years, his work in cinema and theatre has come in for a great deal of recognition. The intersection of performative languages, the collaboration with non-actors, as well as various community projects with a strong choreographic component give Marco Martins’ body of work a unique voice in the arts panorama.