P.J. Marcellino is an award-winning Cape Verdean-Canadian producer and director.
He is the founder of Toronto-based prodco Anatomy of Restlessness Films and Head of Development of Baobab Film Collective — a 5-company ensemble spanning Canada, Brazil, and West Africa, launched to develop and co-produce socio-politically relevant, character-driven premium dramas with African and Afro-diasporic lenses, visual grammars, and narrative styles.
P.J. is a widely published non-fiction author. He started out as a journalist and worked as a researcher and senior policy advisor with international political agencies, travelling around the world before he pivoted to filmmaking.
His film career highlights include his debut film, After the War: Memoirs of Exile (2014) and his award-winning music documentary When They Awake (2017). More recently, he founded Baobab Film Collective, whose 2021-2022 pipeline includes 3 African Political Thriller/Noir/SciFi shows: Kwame, Heirloom, and The Leviathan (featured at Durban Talents 2020).
Outside the collective, he's taking his first stab at narrative screenwriting in the limited series Black Mangrove, in pre-production with France’s Rumble Fish (Oscar-winner A Fantastic Woman). In the documentary space, he is working on an upcoming 8-episode docuseries Terra Múzika (in pre-production) exploring music, politics, and identity in his native Cape Verde Islands, directed by 8 young directors of the Cape Verdean New Wave — most of whom women/non-binary. In the longer term, his feature doc The Whalers is in development with Inuit Co-Director Jerri Thrasher (The Last Walk, Food For The Rest of Us) and Afro-Indigenous Story Producer Adeline Bird (IndigiThreads).
During the pandemic, he also co-founded and was the co-Executive Director of FUTURE NOW!, an ambitious Afro-centric e-conference, online platform, and open-source industry resource connecting creative professionals in 30 countries in Africa and beyond.
P.J. holds graduate degrees in International Relations, International Politics, and International Development. He is a graduate of Seneca College’s Documentary Filmmaking Institute and WIFTo/Bell Media's 2020 Media Leadership Program at Schulich School of Business. He's also the recipient of Presence Autochtone 2018's 2nd Rigoberta Menchú Social Award.
P.J. is a unionized director with the Directors Guild of Canada, where he represents the Directors Caucus in the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. As a producer, he is affiliated with the Canadian Media Producers Association. He is a member of the Canadian Academy, DOC Canada, Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, Women in Film & TV, and the Cape Verdean Film Association.
Riga (2018) Budget: $0 - $100K | Documentary ⋄ Experimental When Philippe Séranne lands in Latvia in 1991, on the heels of its declaration of independence from the USSR, he finds its capital, Riga, on edge. This short animation/experimental music documentary depicts those unnerving days of tanks and MIGs, exploring protest, memory, and identity through the means of archival footage, music, and visual poetry.
After the War: Memoirs of Exile (2014) Budget: $0 - $100K | Historical ⋄ Documentary In 1945, a young German officer is shot dead by Soviet soldiers in front of his Jewish Ukrainian wife, and his 4-year old daughter. Seventy years later, three generations reflect on the memories and untold psychological trauma of the Great War.
When They Awake (2017) Budget: $100K - $1M | Music ⋄ Documentary When They Awake documents a remarkable generation of established and emerging Indigenous musicians in a moment of cultural and political resurgence. From Idle No More to Standing Rock and from festival stages to small club venues, Indigenous artists, from across Turtle Island are making their voices heard — and people are listening. Covering every music genre from Country to Hip Hop to Rock to EDM and beyond, this generation is challenging the pain of the past into a stirring, hopeful vision of the future.
Terra Múzika | Land of Music (x8) Budget: $100K - $1M | Music ⋄ Documentary Told from the POV of eight global music stars, Terra Múzika: Land of Music is a sonic journey through the history of the famed Cape Verdean beats that conquered the world, exploring ancestral African heritage, slavery, memory, culture, identity, sense of place and the politics of belonging along the way.
Black Mangrove: The Wiwa Story (x6) Budget: $5M - $10M | Thriller ⋄ Drama When Nigeria's brutal oil-fueled military regime arrests and later executes writer and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, it sends shock waves around the world... and sends his brother's life into a tailspin. Fighting for Ken's life — and his own — Owens Wiwa becomes the reluctant hero in a dizzying political thriller based on a true story.
Heirloom (x10) Budget: $1M - $5M | Sci-fi ⋄ Drama In the late 21st century, climate change brought chaos to the world, and the few million who survived sought refuge in a small verdant area of the African continent. Reduced to a single nation ruled by an increasingly totalitarian emergency government, the odds are high — and soon its heavy-handed pitting of survival vs. freedom attracts detractors.
The Leviathan (x8) Budget: $1M - $5M | Sci-fi ⋄ Film-noir A mysterious psychiatrist who invents a machine to translate thoughts into sounds and images. The friend who decides to test it, and his unsolved suicide mystery. A detective haunted by his dark past, relentlessly seeking resolution — of this case, and of his life. The backdrop of an ethnically diverse metropolis animated by complex Afropolitan characters and a frantic soundscape of Afrobeats. And a deep dive into the philosophical and moral questions surrounding an elusive, and perhaps dangerous machine that triggers the sequence of events in this series.
Black Mangrove: The Wiwa Story
TV Mini by Anatomy of Restlessness Films (Action, Drama, Thriller and Biography) Producer/Writer
Connexion: S02 PLAY
TV Series (Documentary and Short) Executive Producer
The Wellbeing Project
Documentary by True Calling Productions (Documentary and Short) Second Unit Director
Documentary by Anatomy of Restlessness Films / PJ Marcellino (Documentary, Music, Animation and Short) Producer/Director
Love What You Do
TV Series Director
When They Awake
Film by Longyearbyen Media (Anatomy of Restlessness Films), Circle Studios and 90th Parallel Productions / PJ Marcellino (Documentary and Music) Producer/Director
After the War: Memoirs of Exile
Film by Anatomy of Restlessness Films / PJ Marcellino (Documentary and History) Producer/Director
Film by Seneca College (Documentary and Short) Director
TV Serie Producer
TV Serie by Anatomy of Restlessness Films and Baobab Film Collective (Drama, Sci-Fi and Thriller) Producer/Development Executive
2nd Rigoberta Menchu Social Award — Festival Presence Autochtone (Montreal)
True Calling Production Grant
Best Feature Documentary — Int. FF for Women, Social Issues and Zero Discrimination (Jakarta)
(Nominee) Best Feature Documentary — Athens Int. Film & Video Festival (Ohio)
(Nominee) Best Music Documentary — NorthWest Fest (Edmonton)
(Nominee) Best Feature Documentary — Bentonville Film Festival (Arkansas)
(Nominee) Best Feature Documentary — Festival Vues Sur Mer (Gaspé, QC)
(Nominee) Best Feature Documentary — Snowdance Independent Film Festival
Best Feature Documentary — Hamilton Film Festival (Hamilton)
Best Feature Documentary — Desert Rocks Film & Music Festival (California)
3rd Prize of the Jury, Documentary — Festival des Films du Monde (Montreal)
(Nominee) Best Feature Documentary — Red Nation Film Festival (L.A.)
(Nominee) Best Environmental Documentary — Red Nation Film Festival (L.A.)
Opening Night Gala (When They Awake) — Calgary International Film Festival
Opening Night Gala (When They Awake) — #PDXFF: Portland Film Festival
Opening Night Gala (When They Awake) — Hamilton Film Festival
Womex 2017 Film Selection
(Nominee) SAMHSA Voice Award (After the War)
(Nominee) Golden Pegasus Award — Peloponnesian International Film Festival (Greece)
(Nominee) Doc Talent Award — Cyprus International Film Festival
WIFTo | Bell Media | Schulich School of Business — Media Leadership Program
Canadian Media Producers Association
Intimacy Coordinators Canada
Directors Guild of Canada
CMF | Magnify Digital
Documentary Film Institute | Seneca College
CERLAC — Ctr. for Latin American and Caribbean Research
York University (Canada)
School of International Politics — Aberystwyth University (Wales, UK)
School of Social and Political Sciences — Technical University of Lisbon (Portugal)