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Four Decades in the Promised Land

Terra de Promessa is a documentary short film which follows the story of Maria Fernanda Martins Abelho, a Portuguese-born immigrant who was just 13-years-old when her family boarded a ship in 1982 and set sail for Africa. The doccie traces her story as she reflects on her life, moving from Portugal through Mozambique and Zimbabwe before finally settling in South Africa - the country she now proudly calls her home.


The pair behind this short film, Justin Couto and Tana Pistorius, are film students at the Open Window Institute.


Couto is a quadruple major student whose work thus far has generally been about queer culture, who says that his dream film project would have to be something including whales. He says the story told in the film is a one that he has heard often from those in the Portuguese community living in SA and it made sense for him to tell it through the film when he was given the opportunity. Asked what he hopes to achieve with his film career, he says, “It’s to make a difference...to inspire people and show my point of view as a filmmaker and as a creative.”


Pistorius, who is pursuing an honours degree in film and televisions, says that she hopes to create work that connects with all South Africans and transcends the lines of language and race. “We’re such a multicultural country,” she says, “and it’s easy to miss the little ones and the little stories that make SA what it really is which is home to more than just one type of person and [the purpose of the film] was to illustrate that.” She goes on the add that she hopes the film makes people feel a sense of understanding for refugees and realise that there is more to a person’s story than what we think we know.


Terra de Promessa will be showing at Molo Mollo on 16 May 2019.




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