In November of last year, Jonny Von Wallström sold his feature-length documentary film "The Pearl of Africa" to Netflix. He had been attempting to chase down the video streaming service for several years. This included hunting down contact information for commissioning editors and attempting to woo Netflix employees at every pass. After a number of disappointing setbacks, he finally landed an offer. In a fascinating vlog entry on his YouTube channel Creative North, he discusses his journey to landing a global distribution deal with the streaming monolith.
The Pearl of Africa is Von Wallström's debut feature documentary. The story focuses on a 27-year-old transgender woman named Cleopatra Kambugu living in one of the most transphobic places in the world, Uganda. "In my films I try to capture strong personal stories about life changing issues around the world, that merge raw realism with beautiful cinematic visuals," said Von Wallström. In the film, we follow Kambugu as she seeks to shine a light on the intricate concepts of her gender identity. She rewrites the story of a transgender woman that has long been shrouded in darkness and misunderstood.