Anabel Rodríguez Ríos

Venezuela, United Kingdom, Brazil, Austria, 2020 / 99 min / Spanish OV with French & English subt. / Documentary

In Venezuela, the village of Congo Mirador on Lake Maracaibo, is preparing for contentious parliamentary elections.

Floating on stilts above Lake Maracaibo, the village of Congo Mirador is preparing for contentious parliamentary elections. For streetwise local businesswoman and Chavist party representative Tamara, every vote counts and is fought for by all means, including bribery and intimidation. Her opponent, Natalie, a vocal teacher supporting the opposition, sees her political convictions turned against her as she’s about to be forced from her job. And with her sharp eyes, little Yoaini sees her community sinking into the oily, sedimented water, taking her childhood and innocence down with it. As families risk being displaced with no means of surviving elsewhere, the villagers’ fears extend beyond the partisan divide of Venezuelan politics. How can the small fishing village survive against corruption, pollution and political decay?

A striking and mournful reflection of the flaws of contemporary Venezuela.  


Sat 06/03 18:30 Ciné Utopia ES OV with FR subt. Public
Sun 07/03 10:00 Public
Tue 09/03 16:00 Cinémathèque ES OV with EN subt. Public
Wed 10/03 13:30 Ciné Utopia ES OV with EN subt. Public

« A powerful image of forced exile, of people being eaten out of house and home by foul waters and phony officials [...] the embodiment of an entire nation" Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, 03/03/2020

“A dystopian fairy tale, which we should all heed, lest we fall under a curse of venal mismanagement" Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammertonail, 17/02/2020

Cast & Credits
Anabel Rodríguez Ríos, Sepp R. Brudermann
John Márquez
Daniel Turini, Fernando Henna. Henrique Chiurciu
Nascuy Linares
Sancocho Público A.C, Spiraleye Productions Ltd
Golden Girls Film, Pacto Films, Tres Cinematografía
Rise and Shine World Sales

Venezuelan filmmaker Anabel Rodríguez Ríos, based in Vienna, Austria, completed her master's degree in filmmaking at the London Film School, sponsored by the British Council and the Venezuelan foundation Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho. In 2008, she co-directed her first fiction feature, 1, 2 y 3 mujeres. Her latest short, The Barrel (2012), part of the Peabody Award-winning international series Why Poverty?, was selected in over 50 international film festivals, including Hot Docs and the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, and was awarded a grant from the TFI Latin America Fund. Once Upon a Time in Venezuela (2020) is her second documentary feature.

  • 2020 – Once Upon a Time in Venezuela (documentary)
  • 2012 – The Barrel (documentary short)
  • 2008 – Los Venezolanos, retadores de lo imposible (documentary)
  • 2008 – 1, 2 y 3 mujeres (co-director)
  • 2003 – Toilet (short)