In film "Tchindas", directors Marc Serena and Pablo Garcia Perez de Lara traveled to Sao Vicente to explore the lives of the transsexual community in the city of Mindelo in the run up to its annual carnival.
At the center of preparations is Tchinda Andrade, a firebrand for the island's trans community and one of the first to come out in Sao Vicente back in 1998. So influential is she that "tchinda" has become an term used to describe trans people on the island.
The transgender community make up only a portion of the carnival's throng, but their input can also be felt elsewhere. Andrade brings together local children to perform at the carnival, and her lieutenants Elvis and Edinha help with the costumes for myriad performers.
Though considered by some to be Africa's most LGBT-friendly nation, the respect shown towards the transgender community has been hard fought. Serena says that Andrade has been assaulted in the past, and transgender people have limited protection in the eyes of the law.
"This is a poor country, but it's full of love and joy," says Serena. The island is small, only 88 square miles, which perhaps breeds a environment of inclusivity. "You have to get together and live together," he says. "[Vicentians] are forced to embrace each other and understand one another."
Serena and de Lara premiered "Tchindas" in 2015. It won the Grand Jury Award at Outfest, was nominated for an Africa Movie Academy Award and screened at the New York African Film Festival earlier this year.