Lisbon, Portugal | Film Short

Drama, Foreign Film

Patricia Geula

1 Campaigns | Lisbon, Portugal

17 days :19 hrs :56 mins

Until Deadline

39 supporters | followers

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Goal: $107,054 for production

Beatriz wants to show an older friend that she can swim across the river and challenges him to do the same, but ends up saving him and revealing her biggest secret. In Zêzere, we seek to discover what it means to belong and what gravity the past, present and future hold in this process?

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Zêzere highlights the intricacies and melancholy of second generation immigrants and those of the diasporic world. It turns an eye towards the intimacy of dealing with grief, the sense of aloneness brought about by loss, displacement and how vulnerability can lead us to courage.

The Story


It is summer and 14-year-old Beatriz, despite being in the prime of life, has to face the reality of her father's absence and the revelations of his past that have come to light.

In the compulsion to drink chocolate milk, she leaves home where her grief stricken mother is confined to the darkness of her bedroom. Cycling through the lush landscape of central Portugal, she meets 19-years-old Lourenço, a grocer's assistant who suffers from mental disorders.

Together, they venture towards the magnificent Zêzere River. Beatriz tries to swim across the water, but has to return to the shore because of a violent panic attack by Lourenço.

Zêzere is a poetic journey through time. As the river moves through the landscape so does Beatriz. We follow her while she experiences loss and belonging. Patricia Geula's artistic and poetic approach and her talent for pitching the content and motivation in a grounded and confident manner impressed us as a jury. - Interfilm Berlin 2023

It was by the magnificent river Zêzere that I decided to stay longer in Portugal, away from Kenya, the background of my childhood. I would sit and stare at the waters of river Zêzere, surrounded by the ashes and burnt trees that were remnants of a recent wildfire. In those moments, I was often thinking about my grandmother’s home, where I grew up and also, of this new and beckoning love that was making me question, where do I want to live?

In the short film Zêzere, I aim to interrogate the complex inner lives of a family that have found a home in each other, while being tugged by the strings that they have to the other worlds that separate them. We journey with this grieving adult-child as she dethrones her parents from the altars she created for them as the demigods of her life and finds capacity to rescue someone else. And like our main character Beatriz, we hope to understand whether we can be offered salvation through a place or a person.

I hope to enable the audience to journey with our character through the necessary transition we all at one point have gone through: ‘To affirm our own individuality and recognize that people are not static beacons of identity.”

During this period of utter grief and despair because of the global war mechanisms, we are all clinging desperately to our version of lives while experiencing heartbreak and devastation, questioning our audacity to go on when at the same time and space there are people who are not being allowed to live.

This film is our version of clinging onto our lives. It is our way of healing by unburdening the big painful questions and giving a face outside of our own, the wounds we hold; hence allowing ourselves the freedom and the kindness, even if it’s just for a moment, to be an observer.

The dispute of belonging, of heritage, of land and its resources are the fuel of this violent mechanism, and at the baseline of it, is the dispute over one's own body and who has the right to claim it.

We refuse to be complicit with the violence, recognizing our responsibility to agitate, to teach and to extend care to each other.

Images of rural Kenyan life fill the screen: forests sprawling to tea farms, children playing, a roadside market. The narrator guides us through his childhood memories. When Beatriz, Portuguese - Kenyan wakes up, she must learn what it means to balance these two worlds within. 

We move with her as she cycles through the terrain of her own childhood in Central Portugal: a village in the valley between winding roads, olive and orange trees, grazing sheep, abandoned house structures and old farmers idly walking. 

Their house is textured and lived in. Once inherited from her mother’s family, it echoes the memories and silent hopes of those who came and went. Within this stillness and interplay of light that seeks to highlight the passage of time, a family grieves the loss of the most important man between the two women.

The characters, the landscape, and dialogue bring together images of Kenya and Portugal; both equally rich yet flawed with the individuals' inner beliefs and biases.

Zêzere is Poignant, Intimate, Playful and Melancholic.

Dark shadow ambience into daylight highlighting among other things, the infinite color variations on nature.

The camera, a poetic interpretation susceptible to the characters desires, fears, and contradictions—illuminating, among other things, the complexities of the portrait of a man now gone.

We love the subtle details: the movement of lips holding back a tear, a leaf falling; ants crawling over an empty bottle of chocolate milk; light beckoning in the water, a bird skiting above; a river flowing. 

Kindly see our team page for our detailed bios.

Independent cinema only exists with a committed audience. You know that it takes more than a good script to get a film made, and in order to support our cast, crew, and larger production needs, we are calling to you,  our community of filmmakers, film lovers, and any one who connects with the thesis of this film to help make it financially viable. The funds we raise through this campaign will be what will make this film possible. 

With that in mind, $107,054 is the minimum amount at which we can successfully go  into production of the film Zêzere. Your pledges will go entirely to the hard costs of filmmaking, including camera and lighting gear, locations and logistics, insurance, permits, food, and most importantly, payment for our cast and crew! We know that making quality content takes a village, and we want to compensate that village for their time and talent. We will also be able to  cover the cost of the campaign, ensuring all the rewards are delivered.

Now, let's aim for our wildest dream with this campaign: with more funding, we can take this project even further! And we need YOU to be able to get there.

Stretch Goal

$133,054 - In addition to all previous goals, with this amount,  we'll be able to budget  for post-production. That means high quality editing, sound mixing, sound design, and color, which will be essential in helping us achieve the tone we're aiming for. It also gives us the ability to bring more nuance and rent the highest quality gear. This level of funding would additionally allow us to screen and participate with the film in international festivals and competitions!

THANK YOU from the riverbed of our hearts, for being a part of OUR collective success, and help us raise that last little bit of $26,000 so our film can reach the widest possible audience! 


This is the most direct way to support the film. Every dollar counts and we promise we are pushing towards something really important and giving it our all. 


At Seed & Spark, more followers equals MORE support from the platform in many awesome ways, for example, if we hit 500 followers, we unlock an amazing filmmaker package!Follow us on Instagram, X(formerly as Twitter) & Facebook @thefilmzezere to stay up to date with our progress and re-share our posts to help get the word out about our campaign. We even drafted a caption for you:

Support indie filmmakers and contribute to #thefilmZêzere! Show them some love and follow them @seedandspark



By sharing with your friends and family, you help this important story reach networks that we wouldn't be able to tap otherwise. You also are also playing a crucial part in SHARING THE STORY, even before the film is made.


If we hit your goal, what happens to the money you make after that?

Right now, our projected costs are at the bare minimum to get the movie made. Any contributions beyond our goal towards our stretch goal will show up on screen -- better set dressing, more time to get the perfect take, strengthening the technical team and increasing the secondary cast.

Why are you using Seed&Spark instead of some other platform?

We're fans of Seed&Spark because it's run by an incredible team of diverse independent filmmakers who are keen on creating a supportive and empowering platform that allows other filmmakers to build their audience. 

Does it cost extra to ship internationally?

One way or another, all our fans are international and WE LOVE YOU ALL! It may take a little longer and unfortunately cost a few cents more, but we welcome the same way your support and participation in the campaign wherever you are. If you have any other logistical questions we're happy to help -- just drop us a line. 

   Incase of any further questions, please feel free to reach out to us on [email protected] and/or on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook @thefilmzezere


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $5,396

To pay the cast fair wages


Costs $23,435

To pay the crew fair wages

Locations & Logistics

Costs $28,133

Covers permits, renting of locations, transport, accommodation and craft services for crew in Sertã, Portugal and Kenya.


Costs $5,374

Covers production design and set rentals. Plus additional rentals for other departments.

Production Expenses

Costs $7,059

Caters to the legal and accounting costs in addition to Insurance cover and a 7% Contingency fee.

Crowdfunding Campaign Expenses

Costs $21,563

Covers crowdfunding related costs: Campaign running fees, subscriptions, artist collaborator fees, printing & shipping, 5% Transaction costs

Gear & Equipment

Costs $16,094

Covers Camera rentals, Grip and Lighting Rentals.

About This Team

Patricia Geula, Writer/Director

Born 1995, she now navigates between Kenya and Portugal; centering her work on the intricate balance between the harsh and beautiful complexities of human existence and its ephemeral nature. Through the use of moving images and text, she delves into the realms of ecstatic truths, ancestral wounds, mental health, sexuality, and the transcendent power of music.

Beyond her cinematic ventures, Patricia has collaborated with diverse organizations on socially relevant short documentaries. Notably, she filmed for NYC-based creative studio Vivid Story, Akili Dada, Kenya and Spring strategies, Netherlands.


2023 | Zêzere: Narrative Short, Winner Script Pitch Interfilm Festival Berlin, Germany

2022 | The Water Calls to You: Feature film in development, Durban FilmMart 2022; Winner Nairobi Film Festival Writer’s Prize.

2021 | Whispers from my Mother: Short Script, Durban Talent program

2020 | We Both Dream Of Waves: Experimental, Earth Pearl Collective’s Sovereign Film Festival; Bad Rep, Theatre’s winter showcase in Berkley, CA; 2018 | It Must Be In The Attempt: Experimental, Nairobi Short, Shorts & Shots Film Festival

Vasco Viana, D.O.P

Born in 1980 and graduated in Cinema - Image and Screenwriting from the Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema in 2005. He gained notoriety as a director of photography with films such as Arena, by João Salaviza (Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009); Rafa, by João Salaviza (Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012); Montanha (Best Cinematography Award at the Manaki Brothers International Cinematographers' Film Festival in 2015).

Since then he has worked non-stop on fiction films, documentaries, television series, advertising films and music videos, collaborating with other relevant national and international directors. In 2019 he released his first film, the documentary Batida de Lisboa, co-directed with Rita Maia, which premiered at IndieLisboa and won the Indie Music award at the 2019 edition.


2023 | Légua: Feature film, Premiere Cannes Directors' Fortnight.

2023 | Shimmering Bodies: Short film, Premiere Cannes Critics Week.

2023 | Tommy Guns: Feature film, Locarno Film Festival Official Competition.

2018 | A Drowning Man: Short film, Cannes Official Competition.

2017 | A Fábrica De Nada: Feature film, Critics' Prize Cannes.

2017 I High Cities Of Bone: Short film, Berlin Official Competition.

Miguel Clara Vasconcelos, Producer

Master's Degree in Cinematographic Studies, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3, France, completed in September 2012. He also has a degree in Art (Escuela Superior de Arquitectura y Bellas Artes, Universidad Europea de Madrid). He has developed projects in the performing arts (theater, dance and performance), given training in different artistic fields and is an independent theater and film producer.

He was the founder and managing partner of the film production company Andar Filmes (2006-2013). He was a founding member and president of the cultural association Teatro Não (1997-2012). He has been a member of the independent film laboratory L'Abominable (Paris) since 2012. He now also runs his script consultancy programme Guionismo.net.

He has won prizes in literary competitions and film festivals in Portugal and abroad, his films (screenplay, direction and production) have been shown in commercial cinemas, on television television channels, national and international festivals, film clubs and cultural centers in Portugal and abroad.


2018 | Circo do Amor: Short film, Sub-Ti Award; Torino Short Film Market;Torino Film Festival.

2017 | Silent Meeting: Feature film, Best Portuguese Feature Film Award, Indielisboa.

2014 | The Golden Triangle: Short film, Best Portuguese Short Film Award - Curtas de Vila do Conde.

2011 | Yamo no Anata: Producer, Short film, Best Film, Critics' Prize & Revelation Prize Luso-Brazilian Festival Santa Maria De Feira.

2005 | Documento Box: Short film, Best Portuguese Short Film Award, CURTAS de Vila do Conde.

Nerima Makhondo, Associate Producer

Graduated in Drama and Performance studies (Columbia University ’19, NYC), Nerima lives art and arts life using their body as a site to enmesh the two. They use (They/Them) pronouns. Spending time between Nairobi and New York, they became passionate about bringing stories of Africa and its diaspora to the fore.

They’re a collector of skills—like a video game character— to express themselves and have a do-it-yourself approach when making work. This has allowed them to wear multiple hats in their creative work in addition to performance such as directing, producing and designing their own solo performance show. They have worked as an assistant producer for ‘Hope’ by Hope Salas, an off-broadway show and as a stylist in some local music video sets. Additionally, Nerima co-founded and directed Queer African Network (2020-2023), a social media company that aims to create a safe virtual space specifically for TGLBQIA+ Africans. Their approach to social inclusion work is informed by their arts background and focuses on empowering queer Africans towards self-determination and expression.

Their work has a mixed media element which expands their approach to different themes by creating new conversations as the forms interact. They explore themes of trauma and mental health, black political questions, gender based violence and questions of masquerade. Nerima lives off of imagination and is constantly looking for more ways to live.

Selected projects

2020 - 2023 | Queer African Network: Co-founded Queer African Network a safe virtual platform to connect queer Africans to socio-economic resources to empower themselves.

2023 | Alluring Faces: Short fashion film, Lead Acting Role

2022 | Red Blues: Short film, Lead Acting Role

2022 | Community Artist: Facilitation Artist for students making art towards social change at Creative Action Institute in Tanzania & Kenya

2021 | Community Artist: Facilitation Artist for students making art towards social change at Creative Action Institute in Kenya

2018 | Hope Salas: Assistant Producer

Casa de Gigante, Associate Producer

The Association has been developing a diverse range of cultural work, with which it aims to contribute to the development of the area in which it operates. It has hosted dozens of artists, both Portuguese and foreign, in the making (writers, filmmakers, actors and playwrights, musicians, visual artists), organized exhibitions and film screenings, created poetry programmes on local radio, produced concerts, readings and recitals, cinematographic works, all solo or in collaboration with local entities or municipalities in the region, including Sertã and Vila Velha de Ródão.

Miguel-Manso was born in Santarém in 1979. He has lived in Almeirim, Lisbon, and now lives in Sertã. He studied drawing and documentary science and has worked as a karate instructor. In 2008, he made the feature films BIBLIOGRAPHY (2013) and PASSAGEM DOS ELEFANTES (2023) with João Manso. He is part of the catalog of Portuguese publishers such as Douda Correria, Relógio D'Água, Tinta-da-China, India's Poetrywala and Brazil's Macondo. His texts are included in a significant number of Portuguese and foreign anthologies and literary magazines.

Brittany Franklin, Associate Producer

Brittany Franklin is a creative producer, director, and self-taught photographer hailing from New York City. Her journey started at 14 when she encountered hearing loss while studying voice at LaGuardia Performing Arts School. This experience led her to discover a passion for writing and photography, setting the stage for a remarkable filmmaking and immersive storytelling career. 

She received a Cannes Court Metraje for her short thesis film, “Finding God.”  In 2017, she founded Minorities in Film (MiFILM), a collective -- under her production company, Cerebral Entertainment-- dedicated to empowering marginalized communities through film and media. Brittany has been featured in I-D magazine for her work condemning harmful depictions of LGBTQ+ intimacy in erotica, debuting her short film IGNITE. She is a recipient of the 2021 Sundance Uprising Grant Fund and the Barbara and Carl Zydney Grant for Artists with Disabilities. She is a 2022 Shondaland Women Directors Finalist, an alumnus of RespectAbility x WarnerMedia Early Access Career Bootcamp, and a 2023 RespectAbility Entertainment Lab Director Fellow. With a decade of producing and communications expertise and a background in theater, Brittany has worked as a Data Analyst and Constituent Liaison for the NYC Council, a director assistant, and a performing artist at The Public Theatre. As a producer on commercial projects and live events, she has collaborated with Angela Yee, musical artists like Wayne Wonder, Nadine Sutherland, Summer Stage,  Instagram, and Adidas–which she was awarded the One Club Gold Pencil for Creativity for their “Remember The Why” Campaign.

Selected projects

2023 | Instagram Campaign, "Send Off" : Associate Producer

2023 | TRIUMPHANT Nadine Southerland: Music Video Producer

2021 | The Red Shoes: Short film, Awarded 2021 Sundance Uprising Grant, Producer/Director

2017 | Finding Good:  Cannes Court Metraje

Emma Saints, Line Producer

Emanuella Santos, affectionately known as Emma, is a dynamic force in the realm of film and television production. From her beginnings as a volunteer photographer at prestigious film festivals such as IndieLisboa and Lisbon & Estoril, Emma's passion for the art of storytelling was ignited. This passion led her to pursue a degree in Cinema, specializing in the Sound Department, at the esteemed Lisbon Theatre and Film School (ESTC).

Throughout her career, Emma has served in key production roles, overseeing the successful execution of numerous high-profile projects, showcasing her versatility and adeptness in managing diverse teams and projects. From music videos and short films to television shows and feature films, she has left an indelible mark on each production she's been a part of.

Her leadership, coupled with her ability to foster a collaborative and inclusive work environment, has been instrumental in bringing creative visions to life. Beyond her professional pursuits, Emma is deeply committed to giving back to her community. Her volunteer work at film festivals underscores her belief in the transformative power of cinema and the arts.

In her spare time, Emma enjoys immersing herself in creative endeavors, honing her photography skills, and exploring new avenues for personal and professional growth.

Selected projects

2024 | Marcha da Paridade & Sereias do Mal: Music Video, Line Producer

2023 | Sabura: Short film, Production Manager

2022 | Antenna: Short film, Production Manager

2022 | Heart of Stone: Feature film, Netflix, Transport Captain

2021 | ABC Direito Europa: TV Show, Production Manager

2021 |A Última Pessoa: Short Film, Line Producer

2020 | On the Run: Short film, Line Producer

Kate Saragaço-Gomes, Supervisor de Guião

Born in Canada to a family of Portuguese immigrants. She returned to Portugal in 2000 to live in the SouthEast region of the country where lands are flat and water is scarce. She later moved to Lisbon, where she completed her degree at Lisbon’s Theatre and Film School in 2015. Her graduation film “The Edge of the World” received a special prize from the jury at DocLisboa'16 and was exhibited at various national and international festivals and exhibitions. 

Between 2017 and 2019, she attended a master's degree in Cognitive Semiotics at the University of Aarhus, which included an internship in Berlin focused on analogue film and experimental techniques. Her master’s thesis was the result of a collaborative work on the original concept of the zero-image, which included a period of residency in India where she filmed her second short film “Baki Tadu É”, co-directed with Calum MacBeath Morgan. During this time she also collaborated with Gry Colding on the making of the music video for Moonbee’s single “Tiger”, where experiments with analogue formats were continued. 

In 2021 she began collaborating with Miragem, an open-air film screening event showing experimental film on the Azorean island of Pico. She has collaborated in projects of varied nature, from short to feature films, fiction and documentary, as well as television, working closely with Portuguese film directors such as Pedro Pinho, Pedro Cabeleira, Miguel Clara Vasconcelos, Leonor Noivo, João Cayatte, Carlos Conceição and Alexander David, and Brazilian filmmaker Ivo Lopes Araujo. In these projects she worked as script consultant, script supervisor, editing consultant and location manager.

Her personal projects stem from investigations on transcendence and have focused on approaches without dialogue.


2023 |À Tona D'água: Short film, Co-Writer, 2nd AD, Premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam

2022 | Hand: In post-production, Feature Film, Co-writer

2022 |Amanhã Será Outro Dia: In post-production, Feature Film, Script Supervisor

2022 |By Flávio: Short film, Co-Editor, Winner of best short film at Portuguese Film Academy Awards

2019 |Baki Tadu É: Writer/Director, Short film, Honorable Mention Curtas Vila do Conde

2016 |The Edge of the World: Director, Writer Short Film, Special Prize Winner DocLisboa'16

Current Team