Denise Fernandes was born in Lisbon in 1990 to Cape Verdean parents and raised in southern Switzerland. She graduated in film directing and production at the International Conservatory of Audiovisual Sciences in Lugano (CISA) in 2011. That same year, her diploma short film 'Una Notte' ('One Night') debuted at the 64th edition of the Locarno Film Festival. From 2011 to 2013, she studied filmmaking at Cuba's International School of Film and TV (EICTV), where she directed 'Pan Sin Mermelada' ('Bread Without Marmelade'), which was nominated for Upcoming Talent at the Solothurn Festival and 'Idyllium', which was awarded at the Winterthur International Festival. She is currently in the pre-production phase of her first feature film, 'Hanami', set in Cape Verde. 'Hanami' was selected from 70 projects for the Solothurn.
Talent Lab 2016 and awarded Best First Project by the Swiss Society of Authors (SSA).