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April 8, 2019

The Sound of Masks Documentary to Screen at Hot Docs Canada

The Sound of Masks, directed and produced by Sara Gouveia, is a moving ode to the cultures of Mozambique told primarily through dance and music.

The film shares the tale of a compelling and legendary Mozambican storyteller and dancer, Atanásio Nyusi. He takes us on a journey through Mozambique’s past and present, and into the world of Mapiko, a traditional masked dance.

This mysterious dance, once used as social commentary to challenge colonization, is the heart and soul of Makonde culture: a way of celebrating freedom and cultural identity through movement, music and sound.

The film is as much a post-colonial journey through memory and heritage as it is a time race against the progressive erosion of traditional cultural references.

Produced by South African Lionfish Productions in co-production with Portuguese Ukbar Filmes, the film premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in November 2018, with it’s African premiere at the Marrakech International Film Festival 2018.

The film has most recently been selected to have its North American Premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, taking place from April 25th – May 5th 2019.

North America’s largest documentary festival, Hot Docs offers an outstanding selection of over 200 films from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences of more than 200,000. The film will screen as part of the Artscapes program that is showcase for the arts, creativity, music and pop culture.

Blending observational footage, archive material and contemporary dance sequences, The Sound of Masks crosses the threshold between real and imaginary. These two parallel story-worlds are interwoven creating a visual narrative linking past and present in a radically shifting country.

“The main intention behind this film is to share this story, as told by Atanásio, as an impression of a place at a particular period in time. I hope that through the sharing of this story, the film can live up to Atanásio’s deep belief in the healing power of storytelling.”

Sara Gouveia, Director

The film is the debut feature length documentary from young filmmaker, Sara CF Gouveia. Her medium-length documentary Mama Goema: The Cape Town Beat In Five Movements (55 min., 2011) won the award for Best SA Documentary at the TriContinental Film Festival 2011, screened at festivals worldwide and was broadcast on SABC.


The Sound of Masks (2018) Trailer from Lionfish Productions.