Once Upon a Time in Venezuela
Once Upon a Time in Venezuela

Once upon a time, the Venezuelan village of Congo Mirador was prosperous, alive with fishermen and poets. Now it is decaying and disintegrating – a small but prophetic reflection of Venezuela itself.

Once Upon a Time in Venezuela directed by Venezuelan filmmaker Anabel Rodriguez, will screen at the 2020 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. Shot over five years, and with two more years of editing, the film was the first Venezuelan documentary to be in competition at Sundance Film Festival.

“It’s a reflection of my entire country, the political confrontation in daily life, of corruption and decadence that takes over everything and destroys the foundations of co-existence and the future of the lost people of Maracaibo Lake and of my whole country, Venezuela,” commented Anabel Rodriguez, director.

On Lake Maracaibo, beneath the mysterious silent Catatumbo lightning, the village of Congo Mirador is preparing for parliamentary elections. For streetwise local businesswoman and Chavist party representative Tamara every vote counts, fought by all means, while for opposition-supporting teacher Natalie, politics is a weapon unsuccessfully attempting to force her from her job. And with her sharp eyes, little Yoaini sees her community sinking from sedimentation, her childhood and innocence with it. How can a small fishing village survive against corruption, pollution and political decay – a reflection of all the flaws of contemporary Venezuela.

Venezuelan filmmaker, Anabel Rodríguez Ríos, based in Vienna, Austria, 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”, part of the Why Poverty series, went to over 50 International Film Festivals, including HotDocs, IDFA and was awarded with a TFI Latin Grant.

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