Resilience — Mindset that pushes limits & functionality

In a shantytown of Brazil, a man becomes the first known capoeira master with paralyzed legs, while struggle to fulfill his dream to live with his son.

Oficial selected by Göteborg Filmfestival Oficial selected by The Other Filmfestival documentary winner canada Oficial selected by Göteborg Filmfestival Oficial selected by Göteborg Filmfestival Oficial selected by Göteborg Filmfestival Whatch trailer


Resilience is a warm, vibrant, colourful and mind-altering documentary, featuring the power of our mind and gives a sense on how diversity can enrich our lives.

What kind of mind-set makes you able to follow your dream of becoming a master in a sport, where you only use the legs, when your legs are paralyzed?

The entrepreneur, coach and director, Ricardo Koanuka, takes us on a parallel story besides the film, finding his self-esteem, mastering his mind-set and social skills by navigating between different social-economic, through the land of contrast; Brazil, to Sweden with a dream.
Resilience - A Documentary
Motivational quote from Resilience

Life is beautiful for those who know how to live it.

– Meia Lua

Meia Lua was living a normal life in a shantytown as a child in Brazil until his legs became paralyzed due to a mistake made by the doctor. During this period he suffered from embarrassment, pain and the struggle of readjusting to his new life. Over time, Meia Lua came to realize what was really paralyzing him — his mind, perception of self, and the wheelchair.

As a result and a lot of persistence, he develops his own way of walking, through using his arms as legs and hands as feet. Meia Lua was introduced to Busha, a man who is in a similar situation as him. Much like Meia Lua, Busha was also adamant that his physical disability would not prevent him from living a full life, taking part of any everyday situation and pursuing his passion — capoeira. Capoeira is a challenging type of material art born from the resistance against slavery. Meia Lua also decides to learn Capoeira. His determination to become a Capoeira master gives him the courage to live using his own drive and entrepreneur skills.

Just getting around in the city proofs to be a challenge, especially when climbing up 700 steps in order to get to the bus station. Here he gets his daily income through performing, using his sandals as drumsticks and the bus interior as the drum.
After his divorce Meia Lua has no other choice but to live amongst criminal gangs, such condition makes it unsafe for his son. However, his son’s only wish is to be able to stay with his father.

Feedback from audience

 Resiliência (2016) on IMDb
  • winner documentary

    “With warmth and humor portrays the documentary Meia Luas relation to capoeira, family and relationships. En attraction and life-affirming story” – Rose-Marie Nilsson, nurse

  • winner documentary

    “All educations that work with disabilities should use the film” – Ingeborg Löfgren, therapist

  • Documentary for inclusion, disability and immigration

    “As an immigrant or especially as refugee, you lose all sense belongingness, especially in countries like Sweden. It takes time to scope with the mentality here, just like the main character had to climb everyday to overcome his obstacle in his way.
    ” – Britt Gzl, dancer


Salvador is a city situated on the northeast part of Brazil of the Atlantic coast, 80% of the population are descendants from African slaves. Salvador is called the capital of capoeira as well as the ‘lucky land’; 'terra da alegria'. Capoeira was born from the pursuit of freedom, which became prominent during the period of colonization, with Brazil being one of the last countries to abolish slavery in 1888. Capoeira still exists as a cultural sport that expresses dance, music and a fight for freedom, a fight that is still ongoing amongst many different aspects of society today.


The main character found his way in life when he discovered his self-value, the director learned to be the owner of his thoughts despite any circumstances. Now the mission is to inspire you to find your unique way of being. Our director Ricardo Koanuka is screening the film together with lectures and workshops where he gives others courage to embrace their uniqueness. Ricardo developed a process where he guide you to break down limited beliefs, clarify your passions and gives tools and share his own experience to dare to be unique and life a passionate life.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately one of every four adults suffer from a mental disorder in any given year, most have a low self-esteem as an underlying factor.

Do you want to host a screening of Resilience or know any organizations that could? Please see our screening packages and come with suggestions to help increasing self-esteem in your community.
Themes: self-worth, mindset, Brazil, capoeira, disability, music, culture, health, favela.

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filmscreening about self-worth in school


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filmscreening with motivational speaker

The Uniqueness Process™ Workshop

with Director Ricardo Koanuka

Lecture & Workshop

Screen Resilience and embrace you uniqueness with Ricardo Koanuka.

Our Amazing Team

Behind the documentary Resilience

Ricardo Koanuka

Director, photo & editor

As a practitioner of capoeira I have often been questioned regarding my choice of Capoeira master with many highlighting the fact that Meia Lua could not do the basic steps due to his disability. However, I chose him because he tought me to be the owner of my thoughts despite any circumstances.

Christina Wallin

Producer & photo

I would like to make a film that inspires the audience to make positive decisions, encouraging them to pursue success regardless of their circumstances.

Marcello Benedictis De Campos Neto

Audio director

Through using Meia Lua as a role model, the documentary depicts how some parts of our life cannot be controlled. What remains is to accept and surrender to what is greater than us.

Klara Grunning

Creative consultant

Meia Lua administrates his thoughts, which allows him to manage his internal conflicts and external resistance in everyday life. He inspires us to discover our self-worth.

Music Licensing and Clearance

Jen Malone

Music Right Supervisor

For me this is a documentary with music and rhythm, which appeals me.

Heart touching story

Jessica Nettelbladt


RESILIENCE is an important film with a heart touching story. Ricardo Koanuka and Christina Wallin have access to follow Meia Lua very closely and we get to take part of a rich and authentic documentary footage from Salvador in Brazil.

Documentary Brazil audio

Daniel Togelius


It is an honor to master the sound of Resilience. As a musician and capoeirista for many years, this movie was very hard not to like. With an utmost positive crew, Resilience has become contagious, with its smiles during hardship and the mindset of getting through all obstacles.

music dokumentary

Zebastian Carlson


Resilience is a movie about survival against all odds, challenging yourself and the strength of being independent. I think the story of Meia Lua can inspire anyone to find his or her own way in life.

Thanks to:
Meia Lua and his family, who generously shared their stories.
Kalle Gartberger (Malmö, Skåne, Sweden) who believed in the project and the team from the start.
Eliecim Fidelis (Salvador, Bahia, Brazil) who contributed to the film's title, interviewed the main character and was a support in Brazil.
Leni Nilsson (Huntingdon, England) translated the website but also improved language and content.
Sarah Jane Houlihan (Malmö, Skåne, Sweden) English subtitles.


Resilience in the news and events.

  • winner documentary

    September 30, 2016

    Selected by The Other Film Festival, Melbourne, Australia.

    “We had some great feedback from the audience about the festival, including from a few people who said they enjoyed Resilience in particular.” – Mija Gwyn, TOFF Director.

  • winner documentary

    September 10, 2016

    Winner at the 13th European Film Festival Integration You and Me, Koszalin, Poland.

    “The first award in the category of documentary film "Resilience" directed by Ricardo Koanuka for his portrayal of the hero: his energy, joy of life and ordinary human wisdom”

  • Documentary about mindset

    May 3, 2016

    The premiere in Malmö, Swedish newspaper

    “— I fell in love with his mind-set, how he found a way to grow. He was first afraid and went through a difficult time, he was hiding. But from one day to another, he changed his mind. Some need a coach to make a breakthrough, but not him. How did he find the strength within himself? The film is about a man who overcame his mental limits and when we showed the film in Brazil, everyone understood that message — that we can do much more than we think. It was also a message for me at the time. When we met, I went through a difficult time, says Ricardo. Ricardo Koanuka has now started a project called Outside the Comfort Zone and has put up motivational videos on their Facebook page. — The more you do things that are beyond one's comfort zone, the larger it becomes, explains Christina Wallin. The filmmakers also hope to work with school audiences to come. — We will work with FilmCentrum and put the movie into their catalog for cinema in school. Then we will also give lectures, says Christina Wallin. ”

  • Documentary made in Brazil

    May 3, 2016

    I wanted to tell his story, local news

    “— Resilience means resistance. Meanwhile, they worked with the film, Christina Wallin and Ricardo Koanuka follow Meia Lua's every-day experiences closely. Together they have transformed his story to film. Synchronicity means that coincidence has a meaning; the word is tattooed on the arm of Ricardo Koanuka. Ricardo himself grew up in Brazil but with a different reality in the middle class, and got to know Meia Lua after a teacher invited him to lecture at the university: — No one understood why we became friends. But I was looking for something within me that this guy had, and I felt I must learn from him. They have a common passion for the Brazilian martial art capoeira. — He gave me something no one else has given me, and I felt it was my responsibility to convey that feeling to others. — For me, the story was about not letting you be limited. To be active and challenge your circumstances instead of taking for granted that you are going to use a wheelchair or put on prosthesis when it might rather hinder, says Christina. ”

  • On March 17, 2016

    Winner at Picture This Film Festival.. in Canada

    Honorable Mention for Documentary 10 to 30 Minutes.

  • Tempo documentary new doc

    March 9, 2016

    In competition New Doc at Tempo Documentary Film Festival.

    “After the fatal mistake by a doctor paralyzes Meia Lua in both legs, who lives in a shanty town in Brazil. This new reality is hard for Meia Lua to come to terms with and he struggles with strong feelings of shame and low self-esteem. With time, he realizes that what really paralyzes him is his attitude – and the wheelchair. Through hard training, he develops his own unique way to get around in and he decides furthermore to be champion in capoeira. But there exists a thing Meia Lua still has to struggle for – to provide a home for his son.”

  • spiritual strength documentary

    On January 29, 2016

    The documentary in Swedish newspaper Skånska Dagbladet.

    “Overcome with spiritual strength
    I am capoeira teacher and one of my teachers invited a person to do a lecture at my school, a special person he wanted us to meet. Meia Lua came to my class and started talking about capoeira. From there we started working together in capoeira and learned more and more together. I helped him and he helped me. We come from different social circumstances and people did not understand why we were buddies. My parents did not understand. But I immediately felt there was something special and good in him, says Ricardo Koanuka. The message that we want to share with the people; that one should be brave, trust yourself and move on.
    Resilience is a film that is based on cooperation between Sweden and Brazil, between woman and man, between different ways of seeing things. Christina and Ricardo hope to do something in Malmö to pay attention to the film and that might be able to bring Meia Lua here. For one thing, Ricardo wants to convey through the film is most important, he thinks. When you give, then the world gives back.”

  • worldpremiere at GIFF

    Worldpremiere January 29, 2016

    Gothenburg Film Festival.

    “Meia Lua got his nickname (half-moon) because his smile glows in the dark. He lives in one of Brazil’s favelas' and climbs the steep hills there, walking on all four with Havaianas' on his hands. Nothing is allowed to get in the way of his dream of living together with his son.
    - Maja Kekonius”

  • documentary in Brazilian newspaper R7

    On January 24, 2016

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper R7.

    “We need to see life in a positive way," says the Brazilian documentary filmmaker on Resilience The film tells the story of 'Meia Lua', (Half Moon) a capoeirista who overcame disabilities.
    Ricardo Koanuka is an outstanding Brazilian. Who talks to him, soon realizes that the love for life and the positive things outweigh any difficulty. And it was with this feeling he faces life when he decided to go to Sweden and seek support to launch the Resilience documentary. Filmmaker, life coach and teacher of capoeira seven years ago the Brazilian Ricardo Koanuka traded his job in a Norwegian company to take the work as a teacher of capoeira in Sweden. ”

  • Brazilian Documentary in BAHIA newspaper

    On January 21, 2016

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper BAHIA

    “...Sidney was born without disabilities, however, at ten months of age, when applying him an injection in the spine, he becames paralyzed. Over time, he developed a walking technique, became capoeira master and street artist. "He's a guy full of energy who never feels limited or decreased. Stories like that inspires me. This is a job we did with much love. Our goal was to show that, despite all the difficulties experienced by Sidney, he managed to transform his reality. What made me write and shoot his story was just that, the fact that he transforms all the negativity in your favor, says the filmmaker. City of Africa. The documentary also shows the streets of Salvador, sights such as Pelourinho and Mercado Modelo, the Sao Joaquim and São Caetano, following the routine work of the character, who travels on buses from the capital with his performance of singing. We have come to town to tell the story of Sidney, a story of resilience and inclusion, which makes us very proud. In addition, the doc is also a milestone for Bahia as a state to reach out. In addition to the sights, we show the city as it is, a savior that no one sees, our baianidade and especially the African part of Bahia...”

  • Brazilian Documentary in GLOBO newspaper

    On January 13, 2016

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper GLOBO

    “...The film speaks of capoeira in the social inclusion process...”

  • Brazilian Documentary in BR Cultura

    On January 12, 2016

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper BN CULTURA

    “...The film, which deals with the life of Sidney Santos, also known as Meia Lua (Half Moon), portrays the power of capoeira in the social inclusion process.. Filmed in Salvador and edited in Sweden, "Resilience" took four years to complete and will be presented in several international festivals such as the Göteborg Film Festival (Gothenburg, Sweden), the Film Festival Tempo (Stockholm, Sweden) and Picture This Film Festival (Calgary, Canada). "We got support from the Swedish government, which believed in the idea, and financial support in order to realize this project. We intend to bring Meia Lua to attend some of these festivals in Europe, "says Koanuka...”

  • Brazilian Documentary in GLOBO newspaper

    On January 12, 2016

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper Jornal da Midia

    “Our participation in the International Capoeira festival, Capoeiragem, which is the world's capoeira event, is a recognition of the public. The goal is to enhance the culture of inclusion through capoeira, says the filmmaker.”

  • Brazilian Documentary in GLOBO newspaper

    On January 12, 2016

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper alóaalóa bahia

    “Ricardo Koanuka presents his documentary....”

  • Brazilian Documentary in Jornal do Radialista newspaper

    On January 12, 2016

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper Jornal do Radialista

    “Brazilian living in Sweden starts world tour with the documentary Resilience....”

  • Brazilian Documentary in maisbahia newspaper

    On January 12, 2016

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper maisbahia

    “Brazilian living in Sweden starts world tour with the documentary Resilience... Documentary - 27 minutes long, Resilience was shot in Salvador, between the years 2012 and 2014, with editing and finishing in Sweden last year, and had the support of producer Christina Wallin. The doc tells the story of a man who, despite all the real difficulties that life has imposed faced all obstacles with resilience.”

  • Documentary in Brazilian newspaper

    On January 9, 2016

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper July

    “The world tour of the documentary, Resilience starts in Salvador for invited on 15, 21 and 22 of January. In the dictionary, resilience is a combination of factors that lead to the human condition to face and overcome problems and adversities. In real life, it has a name: Sidney Santos or Meia Lua, Half Moon, as he is known and he is the main character in the movie. The filmmaker is Brazilian but is living in Sweden, Ricardo Koanuka, which depicts, among other things, the power of capoeira in the social inclusion of Sidney development. The result will be presented to the Bahia on Friday (15) at an event for guest, in Ciranda Café in the neighborhood Rio Vermelho, Salvador, at 20h, followed by debate and show the Morena Dub band..”

  • Documentary in Brazilian newspaper

    On January 8, 2016

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper July

    “The Brazilian-Swedish director of the documentary Resilience A Documentary, Ricardo Koanuka, is screening the movie for invited, now when he is in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil at Ciranda Café and at V Festival Internacional De Capoeiragem at Forte da Capoeira..”

  • Documentary in Brazilian newspaper

    On November 4, 2015

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper July

    “Christina Wallin and the baiano, Ricardo Koanuka are coming in December from Malmö, Sweden, for another summer season between the Vilas do Atlantico and Salvador. This time, during it, they will make the first display in special session to guests and moviegoers of Resilience documentary, the story of a person that fight to overcome the adversities imposed by his own destiny.”

  • Documentary in Brazilian newspaper

    On October 24, 2015

    The documentary in Brazilian newspaper

    “Baiano based in Malmö, Sweden, Ricardo Koanuka will come to Salvador to launch the documentary Resilience, in January 2016. The short film of 28 minutes filmed in the city, tells the story of Sydney Santos, known as half Moon, who, without being able to walk, became capoeira master. “A medical error caused a paralyzation in his legs,” Ricardo says. “He went through a long period of suffering. But with persistence, he developed a locomotion technique, using arms and legs and hands and feet. ” Ricardo Koanuka get financial support from Malmö city council for the documentary. The idea came when he was in college in Salvador. “I studied physical education. In a class, the teacher said we would receive a visit from a special person. It was Meia Lua. I thought, “This man has something to teach me,” he recalls. The shooting of the movie began 4 years ago. "I invited a Swedish producer, Christina Wallin, to join the project.” The director plans to screen Resilience also in Sweden and Canada..”

  • Documentary passion

    On February 3, 2015

    Our director's life situation ends up in Brazilian newspaper:

    „The Brazilian-Swedish Ricardo Koanuka is in Bahia finishing the documentary Resilience that will be released in mid of the year. Ricardo take off to Denmark today, where he will be trained as the first Brazilian certified in the art The passion Test for young directors, the American Jannet Attwood.„

  • Director from Brazil in Sweden

    On January 30, 2014

    Resilience is news in the biggest newspaper of Salvador, Jornal A tarde

    “Ricardo Koanuka, a Director from Bahia, Brazil, naturalized Swedish, and the producer Christina Wallin, with cultural encouragement from the Swedish government came to Bahia to film the documentary Resilience. It portrays the life of master Meia Lua, a capoeirista who became disabled at 2 years of age and today is an example for all, of overcoming trials and tribulations.”

  • documentary in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

    On January 25, 2013

    Bahia noticias

    In the newspaper Bahia Noticias social column: “Ricardo Koanuka, who originally is from Bahia and now lives in Malmö, Sweden, has returned to Salvador with Christina Wallin to produce a film and documentary. The documentary portrays Meia Lua who is physically disabled, working in the city buses with a big smile, projecting positive energy to his surroundings.”

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