1. Why did we start this documentary?
    • I was born in Venezuela in 1991 to a family that was heavily involved in politics. My grandfather helped overthrow the dictator Perez Jimenez as part of Democratic Action party and my mother worked for the same party and for Congress during the presidency of Carlos Perez Jimenez. We came to the US in 1996 and my parents decided we’d stay permantently after Hugo Chavez became President. Even though I grew up in the US, I’ve always been very interested in my own country and hoped to be able to visit it someday.In 2014, when the protests started, I became much more focused on following the political situation and overall worsening crisis in Venezuela and was dedicated to helping in anyway possible online.

      I’ve Always had the idea of making a movie and after watching the movies ‘Winter on Fire’ and ‘The Square’ about the Ukranian and Egyptian revolutions respectively, I began to read on how to make a documentary.

      On July 16, 2017, the opposition gave me permission to organize a voting center for the unofficial referendum in Cary, North Carolina and to also help another center in Greenville, North Carolina get approved. We prepared to have 500 people vote that day, but we were extremely surprised and amazed that over 2,000 people came out to vote. This raised my hopes so much that I promised right there and then that I would finish the documentary no matter what.

      I know the power that movies have and the emotions that a movie can generate in people and that pushed me to invest all of my time and money to learning the art of film and to make this documentary. I ended up finding much needed help in Caracas, Venezuela who helped me complete the project: Erika Goldberg, Director of Photography, and Mario Tafuro, an amazing cinematographer.

      8 months later, in February 2018, I volunteered to go to Washington, DC with a group of Venezuelans to speak with congressmen and congresswomen about the situation in Venezuela and to hand out letters asking for humanitarian help for Venezuela. At the end of the day, we met in the Foreign Affairs Committee with some Senators and Representatives where we spoke about the efforts that were being made. That day I met Rafael Castillo of the Venezuelan American Leadership Council and Ernesto Ackerman of the Independent Venezuelan-American Citizens who organized the event and was lucky to tell them about the documentary project.

      In May of 2018, I finally wrapped up post production on Repression in Paradise and finished the final touches, working in some new interviews with the help of Magalli Meda de Olivarres in Venezuela and Maria Corina Machado, a strong opposition leader in Venezuela. Through out the last 12 months I have had the amazing opportunity to work on this project from start to finish and learn as I went along with an amazing support group of people who helped make this project a reality.

      Now starts the real hard part. Making sure that as many people as possible see this film and hopefully to be moved to help Venezuelans in some way. We all want to see a free Venezuela in our lifetimes and we all give our own efforts to making that happen. This will be another step in that direction.

  2. What story will this documentary tell?
    • Repression in Paradise is the first feature-length documentary that follows the experiences of protestors, state police, politicians and resistance members through the Venezuelan Rebellion of 2017. Witness the escalating 4-month long protests as millions of people rebel against an ever-growing repressive state hell-bent on staying in power no matter the costs. As international pressure mounts, fault lines begin to form within the government factions and victory seems close, but nothing is certain as personal ambitions and doubt in the opposition create uncertainty in the outcome. From massive marches to military uprisings get a firsthand look at a democracy on the verge of collapse and the heroism it produces in the most unlikely places.
  3. What is the goal of the documentary?
    • Our goal from day one has been simple, awareness, awareness, awareness. We believe that by creating a feature film documentary that has the chances of making it into some festivals and appearing on SVOD or TVOD platforms that we can get the movie in front of as many eyeballs as possible. If we get enough people to support and watch the film then we have done our duty. We want to make sure that when people see this documentary they feel angry that something like this could happen to a democratic country. The once richest country in South America has become a a place so bad that millions are leaving to find a better chance at life elsewhere. We want to increase international pressure on the narco-government of Maduro and if we show the world their true colors we think this will go a long way in achieving that. Repression in Paradise is a tribute to those who gave their lives so that others could have a better future and live in peace and freedom. That end goal is yet to be reached but we hope to help in achieving it.
  4. Is there a timeline for the release of the documentary?
    • We hope to release the documentary in the fall of 2018. This, of course, will depend on film festivals that we are submitting to and a few other factors but that is the goal. As far as post-production, the documentary is complete. There will be some private screenings for specific organizations and groups which we will be announcing as they are approved.
  5. Will you be submitting to festivals and major distributors?
    • Of course. We have a marketing and distribution plan in place thanks to the help of a mentor that is helping us move forward in this area plus my own expertise in the marketing agency world. We will announce festivals as we submit and receive responses and we will keep everyone up to date on that. As far as distribution goes, we haven’t spoken with any distributors yet as it’s a little early in the process but we have done our research and have some great companies in mind. We will release more information on this as we get closer to release. Again, we want to thank all our supporters for helping get this documentary off the ground to become a reality. Without everyone who has helped, this project would not have made it this far.

– Alving Garcia (Executive Producer)