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Once Upon a Time in Venezuela

Dir. Anabel Rodríguez Ríos / Venezuela, UK, Brazil, Austria / 2020 / 99’


Reinventing Tomorrow


Director: Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
Screenplay: Anabel Rodríguez Ríos, Sepp R. Brudermann
Cinematography: John Márquez
Editing: Sepp R. Brudermann
Sound: Marco Salaverría, Gherman Gil, Daniel Turini
Music: Nascuy Linares
Producers: Sepp R. Brudermann, Claudia Lepage
Production: Sancocho Público A.C. in co-production with: Golden Girls Film, Pacto Filmes, Tres Cinematografía, Spiraleye Productions Ltd.
World sales: Rise And Shine World Sales
Language: Spanish



Once upon a time, the Venezuelan village of Congo Mirador, floating on stilts just inches above the deep Lake Maracaibo, was prosperous, alive with fishermen and poets. In recent years, it has decayed and disintegrated, rotting beneath pollution and neglect—a small but prophetic reflection of Venezuela itself. At the center of the village’s existential fight for survival stand two female leaders—Mrs. Tamara, the Chavista government coordinator of the village, and Natalie, a vocal teacher and opponent of Mrs. Tamara and her state-approved practices of bribery and intimidation. As the contentious national elections approach, fear within the community extends beyond the partisan divide of Venezuelan politics; the villagers’ homes are quite literally vanishing into the sedimented water, displacing families with no means of surviving elsewhere. Director Anabel Rodríguez Ríos’s striking and mournful ode to her country bears first hand witness to the irreversible consequences of government corruption, while simultaneously capturing the resilient spirit of those most directly affected by Venezuela’s profound economic and political crises.


Sundance Film Festival, CPH:DOX, Hot Docs, DocAviv, IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, DOC NYC, Miami Film Festival, FICCI Cartagena, Malaga International Film Festival, Panama International Film Festival, Docs Barcelona, Shanghai International Film Festival, Festival de Cine de Lima, DocMontevideo, DocMX, Vancouver International Film Festival, This Human World Film Festival, WATCH DOCS International Film Festival, DocPoint - Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Tempo Documentary Festival


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Anabel Rodríguez Ríos
Venezuelan filmmaker based in Vienna, Austria. She gained a Masters in Filmmaking at the London Film School, which was sponsored by British Council and the Venezuelan Foundation El gran Mariscal de Ayacucho. Her latest short, “The Barrel”, which was part of the Why Poverty series, went to over 50 international film festivals, including Hot Docs, IDFA and was awarded with the TFI Latin Grant.




Red Stains
Red Stains
Red Stains
Red Stains
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