We, People of the Islands

Cannes Docs

Project curated by: IEFTA

We, People of the Islands

Original title: Nós, o Povo das Ilhas

Directed by: Elson Santos, Lara Sousa

Produced by: Lara Sousa, Elson Santos (Kulunga Filmes, Mozambique)

Country of production: Cape Verde, Mozambique

Runtime: 70', 90'

Expected release: January 2023

Production stage: Late Development

Budget: €215,000

Budget in place: 17,5%

1st feature: Yes

Looking for: Funding, Co-producer, Pre-buys


In 1965, in a secret operation, a group of 31 young Cape Verdeans, including a woman, embarked for Cuba, to receive military training to free the country from the clutches of colonialism. A story of ideals, utopias, and betrayals. The portrait of a youth who launched into a utopian and almost impossible adventure, guided by the dream of the liberation of their country, believing another future was possible.

Director’s profile:

Elson Santos was born in Cape Verde. He holds a Degree in Communication from the Pontifical Catholic University in Brazil, with a focus on Advertising. He has 16 years of experience in Communication and Marketing, working in both the public and private sectors. Santos worked on the production of the first edition of the Oiá Festival – International Film and Audiovisual Festival of Cape Verde and participated in the first PALOP reflection group on documentary cinema at the CPLP Film Festival held in João Pessoa, Brazil. Passionate about the rich oral tradition of the islands, he believes that documentary cinema and visual arts have a crucial role in the preservation and dissemination of Cape Verde’s living and invisible memories. “Nós, Povo das Ilhas” is Santos’ debut into documentary film as a Director and Producer. Elson is a grantee of HotDocs Blue Ice Fund.

Co-director’s profile:

Lara Sousa is a Mozambican filmmaker who studied documentary filmmaking at the EICTV (Cuba). Sousa’s short films have an essayistic and self-referential aesthetic. She combines her political vision with a poetic language, searching for a “non-place” between Mozambique and other realities. Lara’s movies have been selected for several festivals, including Dakar’s Biennale 2020. She was selected to Berlinale Talent Campus and to Talent Campus DocStation. Her project Katalina, Kalunga, Karonga – Sea Waved Tales was the winner of Digital Lab Africa in the Digital Art Category. She is a fellow of Digital Lab African and Realness Creative Producers Indaba. Her project, The Ship and the Sea, was awarded at Durban Film Market 2020 with the IDFA Bertha Fund Award. Lara is grantee of HotDocs Blue Ice Fund and Sundance Documentary Programme.