The Pearl of Africa
Directed by: Jonny von Wallström
Length: 90 minutes/World Premiere
TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 – April 30 – 9:30 pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 – May 1 – 11:30 am
TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 – May 8 – 3:00 pm
Cleopatra Kambugu, her partner Nelson Kasaija and director Jonny von Wallström will be attending the April 30 and May 1 film screenings. Jonny will be at the at the festival from April 28 – May 5.
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From her warm demeanour and disarming smile, you wouldn’t know how dangerous life is for Cleopatra Kambugu, a young transwoman living in Uganda. After being outed on the front page of the biggest tabloid in Kampala, in a country with some of the world’s most bigoted anti-LGBT laws (including a notorious bill threatening life imprisonment for homosexuality), her relationship with long-term boyfriend Nelson is tested. Forced to flee to Kenya to escape reprisals, Cleo begins the process of navigating a difficult bureaucracy to reconcile with her partner. Along the way, she seeks to undergo gender confirmation surgery, which she hopes may be a final step in her journey towards being married in her home country. A moving and universal love story, told in the face of extreme circumstances, this documentary reveals often unsaid and inexpressible facets of the human heart.