Denise Fernandes was born in Lisbon in 1990 from Cape Verdean parents and she was raised in southern Switzerland. In 2011 she graduated in film directing and production at the International Conservatory of Audiovisual Sciences in Lugano (CISA). In the same year, her diploma short film Una Notte debuted at the 64th edition of the Locarno FILM Festival. From 2011 to 2013, she studies filmmaking at Cuba's International School of Film and TV (EICTV), where she directs Pan Sin Mermelada, which deserves the nomination of Upcoming Talent at the Solothurn Festival and Idyllium, awarded at the Winterthur International Festival. She is currently preparing her first feature film, Hanami, set in Cape Verde. Hanami was selected from 70 projects for the Solothurn Talent Lab 2016 and awarded the Best First Project by the Swiss Society of Authors (SSA).