IDFA Bertha Fund supports distribution of Once Upon a Time in Venezuela with 30k grant

    Anabel Rodríguez’s acclaimed feature Once Upon a Time in Venezuela is the latest film to receive distribution support from the IDFA Bertha Fund (IBF). Following its premiere at Sundance Film Festival and subsequent screenings in IDFA’s Best of Fests section last month, the buzzy Venezuelan documentary will now receive €30,000 to support distribution in the US, Spain, Colombia, and Venezuela.

    Centering on Congo Mirador, a declining yet resilient fishing village on the edge of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, Rodríguez’s feature reflects a country in deep political and economic crisis. Oil pollution, political division, and neglect are some of the many devastations portrayed in the film that has garnered attention from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, El Diario, France 24, and

    Supported through the Fund’s IBF Europe – Distribution track, Once Upon a Time in Venezuela is set for theatrical and VOD release in the US, Spain, and Colombia—the three countries with the highest number of Venezuelan refugees—as well as Venezuela itself. Additionally, the distribution plan includes free open-air screenings in major cities across Venezuela and Colombia in an innovative campaign that strives for maximum political and social impact.

    Distributors on board include Topic/First Look Films for the US, El Sur Films for Spain, DOC:CO for Colombia, and Gran Cine for Venezuela. The film was produced by Spiraleye Productions (United Kingdom) and co-produced by Sancocho Público (Venezuela), Golden Girls Film (Austria), Tres Cinematografía (Venezuela), and Pacto Audiovisual (Brazil).

    Once Upon a Time in Venezuela previously received IBF Classic – Production & Post-production support in 2014 and IBF Europe – International Co-production support in 2016. The project also participated in IDFAcademy Summer School in 2013 for script development, and again in 2018 for editing.

    The IBF selection committee included Tijana Djukic (sales agent, Limonero Films UK), Alexandra Galvis (Market Chile Director, BF Distribution) and Isabel Arrate Fernandez (IDFA Bertha Fund Managing Director, IDFA Deputy Director).

    Call for submissions

    The IBF Europe – Distribution category is accepting applications continuously until October 1, 2021. Read about the regulations and how to submit for this category here or get in touch at

    The IDFA Bertha Fund supports independent, critical, and artistic voices from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe with the aim of stimulating and empowering the creative documentary sector in these regions. Read more about the different grants.

    The IDFA Bertha Fund is supported by Bertha Foundation, Creative Europe Media, JustFilms / Ford Foundation, and Special Friends+.

    Once Upon a Time in Venezuela

    • Anabel Rodríguez
    • 2020
    • 99 min

      A Venezuelan fishing community on Lake Maracaibo struggles with the decline brought about by oil pollution, political division, and neglect—a situation that reflects the deplorable state of the country as a whole.

      More info


      IDFA Bertha Fund

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