Portugal, 1966. He studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon and began working as an illustrator in 1990.
He then additionally studied animation at Lazennec-Bretagne, Rennes, and at Filmografo, Porto, directing multiple short films, such as The Suspect (1999), winner of the Cartoon d’Or (2000), Sunday Drive (2009), A Journey to Cape Verde (2010) and Fragments (2016), all of them awarded at several international festivals.
In 2012, he founded the production company Praca Filmes, which premiered his short film A Energia da Terra Chega para Todos, selected at Annecy.
He also directed animated child series and TV specials. His feature film Nayola premiered at the Official Section of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and was awarded with the Best Animated Film in Guadalajara.
In 2013, when I’ve read the theater play of Eduardo Agualusa and Mia Couto, “A Caixa preta”, I was touched by the way they show the consequences of a recent war on a family from the perspective of three different generations of women with their secrets, their fears and their dreams. The way tension is built until the final revelation with a character behind a mask that can’t touch the present. But, because the war was just a distant memory, Virgilio Almeida created the journey of Nayola through the war into the desert of Namib that completes the story and expands de poetic and magic dimension of the film.
It took us 5 years and 2 voyages into Angola to make long research of the history and culture of this country, if possible, from the women perspective like in the book “Combater duas vezes” from the Angolan Margarida Paredes with testimonies of individual women who fought in the colonial and civil war. For the visuals we were influenced by the African masks and contemporary art that inspired us for the characters design and backgrounds creation with strong colors and rough brushes. The Angolan music is central in the film by placing us in that period with the art of musicians like David Zé, Mário Rui Silva and well known Bonga.
In 2015, Luaty Beirao, an Angolan rapper, was sentenced by a court in the capital, Luanda, along with 16 other activists who were given jail terms of between two and eight years for planning a rebellion against President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Influenced by this event I realize that our film needed to integrate this reality and Nayola’s daughter, Yara, could be a rapper demanding social justice. A new generation that fights with music.
2000 The Suspect; animated short film
2009 Sunday Darive; animated short film
2010 a Journey to Cape Verde; animated short film
2016 Fragments; animated short film
2022 Nayola; animated feature film