Within a small, tropical Cape Verdean Island, the beloved Tchinda is hard at work preparing for a Carnival she hopes will capture the town’s imagination. Despite her great reputation, Tchinda remains humble and every afternoon she happily tours the neighborhood to sell her best “coxinhas”, a classic Brazilian treat: delicious fried balls of chicken.
Tchinda is one of most beloved women in Cape Verde, especially after she came out as a transgender person in the local newspaper in 1998. Since then, her name has become the term used by locals to name queer Cape Verdeans. Despite her great reputation, Tchinda remains humble and every afternoon she happily tours the neighborhood to sell her best ”coxinhas”, a classic Brazilian treat: delicious fried balls of chicken. But every February all changes. It’s the month leading up to their Carnival, when the slow-paced atmosphere of the island transforms into a frenzied hustle and bustle as thousands flock to the streets. The days before the Carnival are hectic. Locals join forces to create something beautiful out of nothing. It becomes a «Little Brazil» as their most acclaimed singer, Cesária Évora (1941-2011), defined in one of her most famous ”mornas”.
This documentary is as trip to an unknown side of Africa that very few may have ever imagined. It zeros in on a Cape Verde community’s Carnival preparations, with respected and beloved transgender residents leading the efforts . Glue, glitter and feathers are at a premium in Tchindas, a beautifully shot vérité chronicle of the all-consuming Carnival preparations on São Vicente, Cape Verde’s second-most-populous island. A vivid sense of place, community and personalities comes through in the keenly observed film by Pablo Garcia Perez de Lara and Marc Serena, which reveals a seamless fusion of tradition and open-hearted acceptance.
Filmmakers Marc Serena and Pablo García Pérez de Lara have crafted a lush, perceptive documentary that at times feels akin to a fairy tale. The film reveals a hidden landscape tucked far away from the world we know, where trans inclusion and teamwork make up the fundamental structure of a truly magical community and culture.
PABLO GARCÍA PÉREZ DE LARA (Barcelona, 1970) has directed two full-length films: Fuente Álamo, the Caress of Time (2001), selected in Karlovy Vary and Butterfly (2007), in the official section of Karlovy Vary and San Sebastián. His short film Alicia Portrayed (2002) was selected by the Semaine de la critique du festival de Cannes. He’s been the DoP of the acclaimed Familystrip from Luís Miñarro or The K Effect: Stalin’s Editor (2012) from Valentí Figueres, screened in 60 festivals. He teaches cinema in the school in the Cinema in Curs program.
MARC SERENA (Barcelona, 1983) is a journalist and this is his directorial debut. He normally works as a screenwriter for Spanish TV as TVC, TVE and Barcelona TV. He has just published Un-African love? (2014), one of the most comprehensive researches that exist so far about the LGBT community in Africa. His previous book, Trip to the 25 (2011), received great success in Asia, where it has been published in Chinese and Korean.