Once Upon a Time in Venezuela

  • Anabel Rodríguez
  • Venezuela, United Kingdom, Austria, Brazil
  • 2020
  • 99 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests

Congo Mirador, on the edge of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, was once a reasonably prosperous fishing village. The houses floated on the lake, beneath which lies one of the largest oil fields in Latin America. But in recent years, the village has been in steady decline. Sedimentation is making the lake shallower and residents have to work hard to keep their houses afloat.

Central to the film are two prominent villagers fighting to preserve their community. Mrs. Tamara is an influential businesswoman and passionate supporter of President Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013, and his successor Nicolás Maduro. With national elections in sight, she has no qualms about buying votes, much to the disgust of her rival Natalie, the village teacher, who supports the opposition.

Anabel Rodríguez Ríos follows the events with compassion and an eye for beauty. She portrays a community which is undeniably disintegrating, despite the resilience of its people, reflecting a country in deep political and economic crisis.


  • 99 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Spanish
  • Subtitles in: English
Anabel Rodríguez
Sepp Brudermann / Spiraleye Productions
Executive producer
Claudia Lepage for Spiraleye Productions
Sancocho Publico, Spiraleye Productions, Golden Girls Filmproduktion, Pacto filmes, Tres Cinematografía
John Márquez

IDFA history

Dutch Premiere
Best of Fests
Supported with €40000 for Europe: International Co-production
Supported with €15000 for Classic: Production & postproduction
IDFAcademy Summer School Editing

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