Topic, a fast-growing streaming service by First Look Media, has acquired the North American streaming rights to Anabel Rodriguez Rios’ documentary Once Upon a Time in Venezuela. The film explores the decline of the Venezuelan fishing village of Congo Mirador and the country’s complicated political and social climate.
“It’s a reflection of my entire country, the political confrontation in daily life, of corruption, populism and decadence that takes over everything and destroys the foundations of co-existence and the future of the lost people of Maracaibo Lake and of my whole country, Venezuela,” Rodriguez Rios said.
Once Upon a Time in Venezuela made its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The film is Venezuela’s 2021 Academy Award submission for best international feature film, and was shortlisted for the 2020 IDA Documentary Awards. Topic seems to be planning an aggressive Oscar push for both documentary and foreign categories.
“Anabel Rodriguez Rios is an extremely talented emerging filmmaker,” stated Topic General Manager Ryan Chanatry. “We are honored to bring her film about her homeland of Venezuela to our audience, whom we think will be extremely moved and affected by what she has captured.”
So far, the film has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes, the doc sits at a critic score of 92% with 13 reviews. The Hollywood Reporter’s review called it “an illuminating first-hand account of a country in despair.”