Once Upon a Time
in Venezuela

Film phase:Completed


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 that is unsuccessfully attempting to force her from her job. And with her sharp eyes, little Yohanny 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?

Once Upon a Time in Venezuela is a participant of Project: Hatched 2020.


Anabel Rodríguez Ríos smiles at the camera. Black and white portrait.Venezuelan filmmaker Anabel Rodríguez Ríos, based in Vienna, Austria, gained a master’s in filmmaking at the London Film School, which was sponsored by The British Council and the Venezuelan Foundation ‘El Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho’. Her short The Barrel, part of the Why Poverty? series, went to over 50 international film festivals, including Hot Docs and IDFA and was awarded with a TFI Latin America Grant. Her first feature Once Upon a Time in Venezuela will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020.