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Focus: Terratreme

10 years

A fabrica de nada, Pedro Pinho

A fabrica de nada, Pedro Pinho


The Portuguese  film production house Terratreme was founded in 2008 inspired by the homonymous film by Visconti -Earth trembels-, in which a group of fishermen came together to buy a boat and stop depending on the boss who exploited them. In the same way, a group of young people met in Lisbon ten years ago to invent a new model for making films, where production took shape as a political and aesthetic positioning. The needs of each work would determine the production model, and not the opposite, the revolution was under way. The directors and directors became part of the global ideation of the production plan and budgets, the tremor was beginning to become strong.

If something distinguishes the films by Terratreme is its clear vocation of risk and without borders. The result is notorious, Terratreme has one of the strongest presences in major cinema festivals in the world (Cannes, Berlin, Locarno, Nyon, Marseille, Rotterdam, San Sebastian, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Chicago, New York, Toronto), and their work continues to expand through international co-productions ((Brazil, France, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Argentina, Chile).

The earth trembles.

The world, and the cinema, move.


Three month programme (Focus will take six months):

19/01 Saturday,
A Fábrica de Nada, Pedro Pinho, Portugal, 2017, 178’

27/01 Sunday, 19:00
As Cidades e as Trocas, Luísa Homem & Pedro Pinho, Portugal, 2014, 138’

16/02 Saturday, 19:00
Provas, Exorcismos, Susana Nobre, Portugal, 2015, 25'
Tempo Comum, Susana Nobre, Portugal, 2018, 64'

01/03 Friday, 19:00
Um Campo de Aviação, Joana Pimenta, Portugal, 2016, 14'
Ascensão, Pedro Peralta, Portugal, 2016, 17'
Altas Cidades de Ossadas, João Salaviza, Portugal, 2017, 19'
António e Catarina, Cristina Hanes, Portugal, 2017, 40'

22/03 Friday, 19:00
Djon Africa, Filipa Reis & João Miller Guerra, Portugal, 2018, 96'




1. How did the production project come about? What is the production company’s background?  Tell us about the need you had 10 years ago to create a film production company called “the earth trembles”.

Terratreme Filmes was created in 2008 from the joining together of two production structures, Raiva and Paté, and is made up of Susana Nobre, João Matos, Luísa Homem, Pedro Pinho, Leonor Noivo and Tiago Hespanha. André Dias was also part of Raiva, but he finally left the project to pursue a more academic career, involving programming and criticism. The original idea behind ​​its creation (which is still valid today) was to create a production platform that would provide us with a high degree of creativity, both at the artistic level and in terms of the forms of production for each film, enabling us to find the best production design possible for each project, without the need to reproduce the same model from one film to another. At first, we concentrated on the production of documentaries, but over the years we have produced more and more fiction films, and, nowadays, the number of projects is similar in both genres. We are currently producing around eighty films, including feature films and short films, fiction and documentaries.


2. What kind of cinema does Terratreme aim to produce? What are the common features of your work over the years? Have you changed much or are you faithful to the same initial idea?

It’s impossible to define a single editorial line regarding the nature of the topics that we deal with in the different films we produce. Many of the films address common issues, such as country, identity and history, from a political point of view. But our intention is that this political dimension has more to do with the way of making films than with political activism (although this is present in several films); that it provides a platform where there is freedom of creation and production, in all phases, from development to financing, production and distribution. We have also worked on several debuts for film-makers with whom we then continue working.


3. What have been the key moments of your company’s story? There are several films that have each separately marked the continued growth of Terratreme.

Bearing in mind our continuous and sustained development, it is difficult to highlight films or moments: the specific characteristics of each film showed us the way forward. We think it is important, before speaking about the national and international success that the films have achieved, to first underline the forms of production and the financing that we have obtained. It is definitely worth highlighting our continuing work with the Portuguese Film and Audiovisual Institute, which provides us with a fundamental source of funding. But we should also mention our work with other partners, such as Portuguese public television, the Media, Ibermedia, Eurimages programmes and the World Cinema Fund, and the numerous international co-productions with countries such as France, Switzerland, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bulgaria, Romania and Japan, which have allowed us to collaborate with different partners, from different film institutes, televisions, sales agents, etc., as well as providing a wider distribution of the films.

Of course, we could highlight films such as Lacrau, Provas Exorcismos, Ama-San, A Fábrica de Nada, António & Catarina and Milla, because they are films that characterise the continued growth of Terratreme, but we should not neglect all the other films that have also been fundamental, such as Setembro, Revolução industrial, As cidades e as trocas, among dozens of others.


4. Based on your experience, through your work, how do you view the presence and importance of contemporary Portuguese cinema in international festivals? What does this circuit of international festivals mean to you? And how do you feel about what happens at festivals and what happens at home, in the cinemas in Portugal?

In part, the growth of Terratreme is related to its presence in international festivals and fairs, following the trend of a general interest in Portuguese cinema. The festivals of Cannes, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, Toronto, New York, FIDMarseille, Seville, San Sebastian and Visions du Réel, among many others, have given visibility to our films, allowing us to work on new projects and guaranteeing an important circulation of our films in other fairs and international events. These are fundamental platforms for recognition, but they are not capable of sustaining the quality and artistic investment of the films themselves.

With regard to the premiering of films in cinemas, which is fundamental in order not to depend on festivals and events, we premiere our films in Portugal, but also abroad, in countries such as France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil, among many others. Each market has its own size and its specific audiences depending on the film. In the particular case of Portugal, the absence of cinemas and of a cinema-going culture have made it difficult for Portuguese cinema to express and manifest itself in numbers of tickets sold. Having said that, we have tried to adopt diversified and specific strategies for each film, in order to link critical recognition to the success of the films and their continuity in cinemas.


5. Tell us about the future, about how you imagine yourselves when the company celebrates its twentieth anniversary. 

We believe that our work will be similar: based on respect for authors, films and the public, looking for the best designs and forms of production for each film. Although, obviously, the continued evolution of Terratreme will also present us with other objectives, territories and forms of production; but always understanding that the success of each film depends on a way of working that, first and foremost, treats every film in an individual, unique and unrepeatable way.



  • Date: Saturday, 19 January 2019 > Friday, 22 March 2019
  • Location: Cinema
  • Access: Ticket
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