A Lisbon Affair Poster 1_page-0001


Writer and Director // Hoji Fortuna

Producer // Hoji Fortuna

Director of Photography // Jaime Adão

Editor // Ivor Šonje

Sound Designers // Višeslav Laboš and Tihomir Vrbanec

Music Composers // Pedro Abreu and Toty Sa’Med

Color Correction // Bogdan Tankosić

Technical Info: Digital format/Color and Black & White



Two lovers meet to sort the conflict emerging from their love affair.


Waldo and Shey are in love. Waldo, who lives in Berlin, travels to Lisbon to meet Shey. Their encounter will disclose the emotional tension of their bond and the doubts about their cultural and historical identity as Afro-Portuguese.


Director’s Statement // Hoji Fortuna

Colonization has suppressed – and still does – the rights of people of African descent in protagonist roles both in society in general and in the media in particular, both globally and in Portugal in particular, the country that kickstarted the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Starting from that troubling and often hidden and romanticized truth, I utilize the filmic narrative language in a dignified and reconstructive way, to narrate the love story of two characters that carry within their bodies the causes and consequences of colonization, a story that merges with my own personal trajectory.

I was born in Angola. My entire childhood was marked by a civil war – as before me my parents’ lives were marked by the colonial war –, which always has as result the exodus of people in search of security and a better life and the disruption of families.

In this context I have lost family and friends and emigrated to Portugal, the former colonizer of Angola and an influencer in the ensuing civil war as supporter of one of the parties in conflict. In Portugal I had to reinvent myself while at the same time coping with integration challenges related with my geographic and national origin and also with the color of my skin.

In 2008, after living in Portugal for 14 years I immigrated to New York with the purpose of developing a career in showbiz that I sensed was fated to failure in Portugal due to the residual presence of Blacks in that industry. The experience of living in the American society broadened my perspective regarding the human potential of the people of African descent in Portuguese society, as well as the consciousness of their invisibility and institutional and structural subalternity.

Ten years later I returned to Lisbon to find a city and a country bubblier of people from different national backgrounds. However, in what showbiz was concerned, the absence or scarcity of content featuring people of African descent persisted. The inhuman death of George Floyd in 2020 mobilized a needed conversation regarding racism in Portugal in general and institutional and structural racism in particular. It also reinforced the realization from artists and media creators of African descent of the need of creating our own content however limited resources Portuguese society allowed us to have and content that normalizes our presence in Portugal.

A LISBON AFFAIR is an effort towards that goal. I hope that this first film of mine contributes to the debate towards the implementation of a more racially diverse and just cinematic narrative in Portugal.


A LISBON AFFAIR has a melancholic visual style, inspired by films such as ‘MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY’ and ‘IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK’ by Barry Jenkins, ‘IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE’ by Wong Kar Wai, ‘LOST IN TRANSLATION’ by Sophia Coppola, and ‘LISBON STORY’ by Wim Wenders, a film that captures charmingly the atmosphere of Lisbon. But A LISBON AFFAIR doesn’t stay there. It adds a documentary-like element to its narrative for historical context, since being the protagonists Black, their existence in the geographical territory of the film can’t be conceived without the main event that brought them here: colonization.

A LISBON AFFAIR started as a simple fictional love story inspired by trumpetist Chet Baker tune ‘Alone Together’ – the tentative title of the film –, and the action in the original script happened in New York City. But stories often have a will of their own and this one wanted me to return to Lisbon where I immediately began adapting it to that geography, searching for charming locations to shoot.

My search took me to the neighborhood of Belém, for which I’ve always nurtured a special affection, and to the Discoveries monument in particular. It also took me to another of my favorite locations, the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, from which a nice view of the Castelo de São Jorge can be spotted.

Regarding the Discoveries monument by which beauty I was always fascinated, I’ve noticed for the first time its pretentious whiteness, propagandistic religious and patriotic erection and total absence of Black people among the human statues there featured. In fact, the only black element on that monument is an inscription dedicated to the Portuguese monarch that started the colonization “adventure”. This fact made it inevitable the inclusion of the monument as a character in the story, which gave the film the previously alluded historical and documentary-like element, which lives alongside, morphs into and complements a more immediate fictional dimension – both the love affair and the fictional tale that is the official narrative of the Portuguese colonization.

In that sense A LISBON AFFAIR is a hybrid film and the unadorned visual choice, filmed with only natural light, enhances the symbiosis between the fictional and the documentary-like narratives, adding to the fictional representation of Black people whose narrative in Portuguese cinema tends to be associated with a traumatic hyperrealism.

Music and dance also play an important role in the narrative, as a cathartic reconciliation element between the lovers, in a similar way it happens in reality with the cultural clashes between the Portuguese and the African cultures – the best way the white Portuguese have accepted the Afro-Portuguese is through music and dance. Wim Wenders’ Lisbon is pretty but incomplete, like a forbidden love affair, like the Discoveries myth, an incomplete representation of history. Both omit – one by accident or ignorance, the other intentionally – the fundamental presence of Black people in their cultural, ethnic, spiritual, historical and emotional dimensions.



Love is a universal emotion. However, in terms of Portuguese audiovisual narrative we are rarely if ever confronted with stories of Black characters in love situations. Or when we do have those characters displaying love there is the temptation of setting that love in marginalized traumatic settings. Black people are rarely allowed to display natural unapologetic, “normal” love.

In that sense the characters in A LISBON AFFAIR could be white, judging from their unapologetic display of love – it almost feels like they exist in a world apart from anything else happening around them, living in a bubble of their own. However, they are Black, consciously adding to the film a sociopolitical dimension, being part of a community that for centuries was denied the human choice of love. Full display of love implies freedom and Blacks were not free, were not even considered humans for a significant part of five hundred years.

We believe that a responsible audiovisual industry must be anti-racist and showcase Blacks in full humanity the same way whites have been represented for centuries. Repeated patterns of people’s behaviors and representation, even in fictional content, normalizes the way audiences view those people in real life, and if those patterns are dehumanizing it contributes to the dehumanization of the communities depicted.

A LISBON AFFAIR was shot in the fall of 2020, in the height of the Covid 19 pandemic in Portugal, during lockdown when people had to be in their homes by 1pm or be fined if they didn’t have a document from an institution stating that they needed to be in the street. We didn’t have that document so we had to film from 6am to 12pm and send everyone home.

The film was fully funded by the producer/director/scriptwriter/actor and only possible with the generous labor of a dedicated team of professionals who believed in the project.

We didn’t have permission from the City of Lisbon to shoot for lack of the financial resources and corporative structure needed to carry that task. We were a small team of artists who had a story we thought important to bring to life. And we did it!

We used merely natural light and exterior sets to make up for the artificial light we were not able to afford, and an eight people team that shifted according to the availability of its members. We had to be very economic with the resources at hand.

It was a challenging process but camaraderie, humility and professionalism from all involved was key to a successful execution of the film, which we hope will make all the involved and the community that inspired the film proud.


It is almost impossible to talk about the African diaspora without talking about music. Music permeates every aspect of Afro culture.

During times of war in Angola it was music that kept many others and me with a certain degree of mental sanity.

It was also music that nurtured the enslaved during colonization. The same happens to modern day African migrants and their descendants often relegated to a life in the margins of society and precariousness in Eurocentric societies.

It has been music the peacemaker in this affair we call Portugalidade – the mix of all Portuguese-speaking countries. Music has been the most consensual element in the relationship between former first class Portuguese citizens, aka whites, and former indigenous peoples and their descendants, aka Blacks.

It is in music and in dance that the Portugalidade has been able to soothe the tensions of a colonial past whose values and myths persist in haunting the present.

In A LISBON AFFAIR music is also ever-present. In that sense I tried to create a musical concept that congregated the rhythms of Portuguese and Afro-Portuguese music. Even in times of war in Angola, in a house where my father was an Angolan nationalist and anti-colonial militant, we listened to Fado, the traditional music from Portugal. So, being and extension of my own Portugalidade and given the geographic setting of the film, it was only natural that that style of music permeated the film.

But it is a Kizomba that reconciles our romantic couple as it also happens in reality between Portuguese and Afro-Portuguese cultures. It was the Kizomba, both as music style – an offspring of Zouk – and dance, that became a universal element of Portuguese culture, starting in the predominantly Black nightclubs and spreading to the predominantly white night clubs, homes, cars and streets.

The Kizomba in the film, however, is a hybrid one, with an African beat and a fado melody. As a consequence it is the Portuguese guitar that “sings” in it, accompanied by the bass and the African percussion.




Hoji is an Afro-Portuguese actor who performs internationally in film, TV and theatre. He is an Africa Movie Academy Awards winner for his performance as César in internationally acclaimed crime-drama ‘Viva Riva’. A multilingual actor, Hoji has performed in languages such as Portuguese, English, French, Czech and Hungarian. He also lends his voice to animated films having performed in at least one awardwinning film. A LISBON AFFAIR is his first directing project.

Contact: actorhojifortuna@gmail.com




Izilda Mussuela is an actress, TV host and model. She’s trained in social entertainment and Radio and TV Journalism. Izilda models since she was 14 years old, having catwalked in events such as Portugal Fashion, Moda Lisboa, Angola Fashion Week, Moda Luanda, acted in numerous TV commercials and was cover of several Portuguese and international magazines. As an actress she also performed in projects such as ‘Makamba Hotel’ (TV Zimbo), ‘Windeck’ (TPA), ‘Jacob´s Cross’, ‘Destinos Cruzados’ (SIC), ‘Doc. De Santo António’ and ‘Escolinha do Jeremias’. In theater she performed in projects such as ‘Serviço D’Amores de Gil Vicente’, ‘O Artista Português é tão bom Como os Melhores’ and ‘Vanessas’. In cinema she performed in ‘O Herói’, by director Zezé Gamboa and ‘André Valente’ by director Catarina Ruivo. Since 20212 Izilda hosts the TV show ‘Disco África’, broadcasted by the Portuguese network station RTP África.



Director of Photography

Jaime Adão is a Lisbon born freelance videographer since 1999 and has since participated in various projects in the area of cinema and TV. He has been working with Reality TV since 2001, having directed more than 30 episodes. He also works as a director, videographer, editor and producer in music videos, having under his belt more than 70 projects. In fiction he directed the sitcom ‘Querida Preciosa’ and ‘Café Kwanza’ (RTP África), and coproduced the feature films ‘Marcas Soltas’, ‘Nirvana’ and ‘Train Station’, as well as more than 20 short films where he performed different production roles.



Music Composer

Pedro Abreu is a classical Portuguese guitarist based in Zagreb, Croatia. He started his guitar studies in 1993 at the Madeira Conservatory of Music, region from which he is a native, under tutelage of Pedro Zamora. In 1999, with support from pianist Robert Andres, he moved to Lisbon where he had private classes with virtuoso Bosnian guitarist Dejan Ivanovic. He also studied under tutelage of Portuguese guitarist Paulo Valente Pereira, disciple of Emílio Pujol, and some of the best guitarists in the international arena including Pablo Marquez, Zoran Dukic, Laura Young, David Russell and Dusan Bogdanovic. Pedro is graduated from the Zagreb Academy of Music and besides being a guitarist he’s a composer for various types of projects including theater, cinema and video, having recorded music for TV shows for network stations such as RTP Madeira, RTP Internacional and HRT. He is also a teacher and director of the music school Pavao Belas in Brdovec, Croatia.




Producer: Hoji Fortuna
Director: Hoji Fortuna
Director of Photography: Jaime Adão
Editor: Ivor Šonje
Sound Director: Jorge Cabanelas
Sound Designers: Višeslav Laboš and Tihomir Vrbanec
Colorist: Bogdan Tankosić
Music Composers: Pedro Abreu and Toty Sa’med
Subtitles: Sara Posedel Laić
1st Assistant Director: Francisco Rodriguez
2nd Assistant Director: Sabri Benalysherif
Script Supervisor: Pauline Carbo
Production Assistant/Set Photographer: Djamel Boucly
Make-Up: Carla D’Oliveira
Logo Designer: Ana Badrić
Graphic Designer: Deidra Jovanovic


Hoji Fortuna as Waldo
Izilda Mussuela as Shey