documentary / music

Heaven's Mirror

Filmmaker Joshua Dylan Mellars journeys into the heart of the Portuguese soul on a mystically wild and lushly romantic fado journey. From the ironwork balconies and narrow cobbled streets of Lisbon’s Alfama to the cool bungalow porches of former Portuguese Goa, the filmmaker circumnavigates the globe in search of the meaning of saudade, the essence of fado.


Mellars also sails an inner sea to learn from those who have lived and sung life in fado–for somewhere, somehow, sometime, we all must travel fado’s terrain.

Born in the old Moorish district of the Alfama 150 years ago, Lisbon fados are Portuguese songs filled with saudade, laments of unrequited love, danger at sea, and deep longing. Fadista Amalia Rodrigues’ popularity beginning in the 1940’s spread interest in fado music throughout the world. 

Heaven’s Mirror premiered at California’s 25th Wine Country Film Festival where it won the “Audience Award” and Director Mellars received the “Distinguished Cinema Artist Award.” The film was feted at international film festivals in Toronto, Washington D.C., Rome, London, Houston and New York City as well as renowned institutions including The University of Oxford and Towson University.