Petra Costa - Director Petra Costa is a Brazilian filmmaker and actress. She directed and produced both the short film Undertow Eyes (2009) and the feature ELENA (2012).

Undertow Eyes is a poetic depiction of aging and love seen as seen through the eyes of her grandparents. In 2009 it was selected and exhibited in over a dozen international festivals and took top prizes at nine, including Best Short Film at Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, Best Short Documentary at Cine Las Americas International Film Festival (Austin, Texas) and the Special Jury Award at Gramado Film Festival.

In ELENA Petra once again creates an intensely personal documentary. The film portrays love and loss in her poetic and delicate style.

Petra completed her undergraduate studies Summa Cum Laude in Anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University, New York. She did her Masters in Health, Community and Development at the London School of Economics, London. From the age of 15, she has been working professionally as an actress.

Undertow Eyes


Vera and Gabriel have been married for 60 years. In Undertow Eyes they wander about their own history: the first flirt, the birth of their children, life and aging. In this remembrance, images from their family collection mingle with images of the present, weaving an emotional and dreamlike universe. A mosaic of stories and impressions, this short film is a personal and existential cinematic diary about love and death.

Undertow Eyes on Vimeo
Click and watch “Undertow Eyes” a short film by Petra Costa on Vimeo.


Screenplay – Petra Costa
Directing – Petra Costa
Producer – Petra Costa
Photography – Eryk Rocha
Editing – Ava Rocha
Sound Design – Edson Secco

Awards and Festivals

London International Documentary Festival (2011)
Best Short Film
Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival (2009)
Best Short Film
13th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival (2010)
Best Short Documentary Film
9th Goiania Short Film Festival
Best Film
3rd Itu International Film Festival (2011)
Best Screenplay
Vitoria Cine Video (2009)
Best Editing
Gramado Film Festival (2009)
Special Jury Prize
São Paulo International Film Festival (2009)
Audience Award
35mm Curta Cabo-Frio (2010)
Best Short Documentary
New England Festival of Ibero American Cinema  (2010)
Best Short Film
Cinequest Film Festival 20 (2010)
Official Selection
MOMA, Première Brasil, Nova York (2010)
Official Selection
House of World Cultures, Première Brasil, Berlin (2010)
Official Selection


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