João Pedro Rodrigues studied biology in the University of Lisbon, and afterwards studied Cinema in the Cinema Conservatory. His international career started in the fifty fourth Venice Film Festival, in 1997, where his first film (and Rosa Filmes’ second), the short film HAPPY BIRTHDAY!, was awarded a Jury Special Mention. The film takes us to the life of a man that after being awoken by a happy birthday phone call his girlfriend in the day of his thirtieth anniversary, finds out that he is in bed with another man.
In 1997 and 1998 he directed THIS IS MY HOUSE and JOURNEY TO EXPO, a two part documentary about a family.
In 2000 he directed O FANTASMA or PHANTOM. His first feature film was considered a piece of rupture, being the first ever Portuguese film to portray homosexuality explicitly. Internationally it integrated the Official Competition in the fifty-sixth Venice Film Festival, it was awarded Best Film in Entrevues, Internacional Film Festival of Belfort and in the New Fest: New York's LGBT Film Festival.
In 2005, his second feature, TWO DRIFTERS, won multiple awards, amongst which a Special Mention “Cinémas de Recherche” in the thirty-seventh Cannes Film Festival Directors Fortnight.
In 2009, João Pedro directed TO DIE LIKE A MAN, which had world premiere in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival. The movie depicts the story of Tónia, a travesty and transsexual in his 50’s, that while facing death hesitates to go forth with his sex-changing surgery. In 2007, the project was selected by the Cinéfondation for the Cannes Film Festival’s Atelier, where CHINA, CHINA, his short-film co-directed by João Rui Guerra da Mata was presented.
In 2011, João Pedro Rodrigues co-directed with João Rui Guerra da Mata the documentary short-film RED DAWN, presented through various festivals across the globe.