Impact Updates

About Malaika Pictures


Malaika Pictures was founded in 2015 by Austrian director-cinematographer Richard Ladkani and his wife, producer-production manager Anita, and is named after their first-born daughter, Maya Malaika.

“Malaika”, meaning angel in Swahili, is also the title of the probably most famous of all Swahili love songs in East Africa. One of the most notable performances of this song is a duet of Miriam Makeba and Harry Belafonte in 1975.

Angels are said to be patient, powerful, and never resting.

Malaika Pictures intends to be just that, and will continue to produce films that may plant a seed for change.


Malaika Pictures is dedicated to produce films that shine a bright light on global issues and raise awareness on topics of social and environmental significance.

We believe in the power of stories to change people’s minds and hope to ignite action where indifference has thus far prevailed.

We invite our audiences to take a backseat on our heroes’ epic journeys, to see the world through their eyes. We want to bring them face to face with the challenges they are up against, take them on the adventure of a lifetime and ultimately open their eyes to see what’s at stake and why people even risk their lives to make the world a better place.

We like to provoke, to challenge and to inspire our audiences, have them contemplate what they are witnessing first hand, and maybe respond by starting to care, by wanting to make a difference.

Malaika Pictures is choosing the power of storytelling and the power of visuals to inspire people, to help them understand the world around them and the challenges we face. Each one of us can make a difference, all we have to do is to start doing so, today.

Richard Ladkani, an award-winning director and cinematographer, has worked on over fifty documentaries, as well as dozens of TV commercials. He generally enjoys wearing both hats, that of director and cinematographer, as he prefers to work with small crews in order to be closer to his characters.

Richard is dedicated to keep telling stories that matter. His most renowned productions include two eco-thrillers: “Sea of Shadows” (National Geographic Documentaries), depicting the exploitation of Mexico’s Sea of Cortéz by Mexican drug cartels and the Chinese mafia, driving the world’s smallest cetacean, the vaquita, to extinction; and The Ivory Game(Netflix), exposing the evil forces driving the imminent extinction of Africa’s elephants, which was short-listed for an Academy Award.

Further productions include: “Gas Monopoly”, a feature length investigative documentary on Europe’s dependence on gas from Russia and its consequences; “Jane’s Journey”, a documentary on the life of primate researcher Dr. Jane Goodall, which he photographed, and which was shortlisted for an Academy Award; “Vatican – The Hidden World”, a BBC/NatGeo/ARD/France2 co-production received numerous awards for best director and best photography; “The Devil’s Miner”, (BR/Arte/PBS), a character-driven film about Bolivian mining children, won 15 international awards and was released in cinemas around the world.

View Richard's website

Anita Ladkani holds a Master’s Degree in Communications and has worked as a freelance producer-production manager on numerous documentaries and commercials for many years, based in New York City, Munich, and Vienna.

Since the foundation of Malaika Pictures, she has exclusively collaborated with Richard, bringing her extensive experience in production managing to the table to produce challenging international films.

Our mission is to shine a spotlight on the world’s most pressing environmental issues, and to drive change with the power of film.

Richard Ladkani

Find out more about Malaika’s films here.