• Marlén Viñayo
  • El Salvador
  • 2020
  • 36 min
  • European Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

Though covered in tattoos from head to toe, 25-year old Geovanny has a soft and almost childlike appearance. But when he talks about joining the 18th Street gang at 12, as a member of a murder unit that treated killing as a sport, the atrocities he describes brutally belie that image.

Geovanny is incarcerated at the San Francisco Gotera prison in western El Salvador, which is exclusively dedicated to detaining gang criminals. In 2017, almost all inmates converted to evangelical Christianity. Like them, Geovanny has withdrawn from his gang. But while the church has no difficulty accepting his violent past, the fact that he loves another man is regarded a sin for which he can’t be forgiven.

This compassionate and intimate short film shows Geovanny living in an isolated cell where he and other gay men are protected from their fellow inmates. They spend their days making handicrafts, playing chess or cards, and discussing outfits. Conflicting emotions arise from his wish to be transferred to a prison with a special section for LGBTQ+ inmates. The fact that he’ll have to part with his boyfriend, who feels too ashamed of his sexual orientation to follow him, fills him with sorrow.


  • 36 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Spanish
  • Subtitles in: English
Marlén Viñayo
Marlén Viñayo for La Jaula Abierta, Carlos Martínez for El Faro
Executive producer
José Luis Sanz
Neil Brandvold
Andrea Bilbao

IDFA history

European Premiere
IDFA Competition for Short Documentary

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IDFA history

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