P.J. Marcellino

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Profile Details

  • Country:   Canada and Cape Verde
  • Province/State:   Ontario
  • City:   Toronto
  • How do you Identify?:   Afro-European, Queer
  • Age:   42
  • Experience Level:   Mid-Career
  • Field of Work:   Fiction/Scripted and Documentary
  • Union:   DGC
  • Rep:   TrePalm Agency (commercial, music videos)
  • Interested In:   Directing TV For Hire, Directing Film/Digital for Hire, Developing my own Film/TV/Digital Material, and Shadowing
  • Recent Credits:   Connexion S02 (2020) — doc series | The Wellbeing Project (2019) — doc | Riga (2018) — animation/experimental doc | When They Awake (2017) — feature doc | After the War: Memoirs of Exile (2014) — feature doc
  • Favourite Movies:   The Color Purple, Selma, Bang Bang Club, Good Bye Lenin, The Last King of Scotland, Eyes Wide Shut, Yo Soy Cuba, Cloud Atlas, Ex Machina, Arrival, Interstellar. (Cinema from Sub-Saharan Africa, Scandinavia, Iran, Argentina/Chile/Brazil/Uruguay.)
  • Favourite TV Shows:   Zero Zero Zero, Tremé, House of Cards, Babylon Berlin, Fargo, Dark, Atlanta, Ray Donovan, Black Mirror. The Circus. Definitely not Lost.
  • Authorized to work in the USA?:   No
  • Contact Information:   pedro@anatomyofrestlessness.film
  • Link:   http://www.imdb.me/pjmarcellino


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 developing and co-producing socio-politically driven premium dramas with  African and Afro-diasporic lenses, visual grammars, and narrative styles.

P.J. started out as a journalist, later working as a researcher and senior policy advisor with various international agencies, a job that would take him around the world before he pivoted to filmmaking. Career highlights since then include his debut film, After the War: Memoirs of Exile (2014) — nominated for a SAMHSA Voice Award, an Obama-Biden White House initiative for productions addressing mental health on screen; and the acclaimed music documentary When They Awake (2017), co-directed with Hermon Farahi (of Knock Down the House). Premiered as the opening night gala film at Calgary Festival, When They Awake would go on to do 300+ screenings internationally, incl. flagship events like Telefilm’s Movie Nights Across Canada, the Aga Khan Museum, and 60+ festivals, with numerous awards and nominations along the way.

He is the recipient of the 2nd Rigoberta Menchu Social Award (Presence Autochtone 2018), a proud alum of Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival, and was a narrative features programmer at Portland Film Fest. During the pandemic, he co-founded FUTURE NOW!, an Afro-centric e-conference and online platform connecting creative professionals in 30 countries, including Canada and various African nations.

P.J. holds degrees in International Relations, International Politics, and International Development.  He is also a graduate of Seneca College’s Documentary Filmmaking Institute and of WIFTo/Bell Media 2020 Media Leadership Program at the Schulich School of Business.

P.J. is a unionized director with the DGC, where he represents the Directors Caucus in the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. As a producer, he is affiliated with the CMPA. He is a member of the Canadian Academy, DOC Canada, LIFT, WIFTo, and the Cape Verdean Film Association.



I started my career in politics, before moving to film. Over the last 5 years, I progressively merged the two worlds and my West African heritage and started developing/writing narrative with an Afro-diasporic lens. My work is inherently and unapologetically political, socially aware, even interventionist, with core themes gravitating around memory, identity, border narratives, and the nuances of our crises of humanity.

As a journalist and political scientist, I’m particularly drawn to documentary, but actively moving to Narrative, in particular, genres ranging from Political Thrillers and Procedurals to Noir and Dystopian SciFi.

My recent work with Baobab Film Collective includes 3 African Political Thriller/Noir/SciFi shows in our 2021-2022 pipeline: Kwame, Heirloom, and The Leviathan (featured at Durban Talents 2020). Outside the collective, my own slate includes Black Mangrove (in pre-production), my first foray into scripted. It is a 6-episode high-octane Political Thriller series based on a true story, co-written with J. Timothy Hunt and co-produced with France’s Rumble Fish (Oscar-winner A Fantastic Woman, Neruda, No). On the documentary space, my upcoming 8-episode music docuseries Terra Múzika (in pre-production) explores music history, politics, and identity in my native Cape Verde and, directed by 8 young directors of the Cape Verdean New Wave, most of whom women/non-binary. My long-term passion project is a feature documentary entitled The Whalers, currently in development with Inuit Co-Director Jerri Thrasher (The Last Walk, Food For The Rest of Us) and Story Produced by Afro-Indigenous creator Adeline Bird (IndigiThreads).