VENEZUELA: COUNTRY OF LOST CHILDREN wins VFF Documentary Film Production Award 2024

© DOK.fest München

Producer Oliver Stoltz from Dreamer Joint Venture Filmproduktion receives the VFF Documentary Film Production Award 2024 for VENEZUELA: COUNTRY OF LOST CHILDREN. Sincere congratulations!

About the film:
​​Mismanagement and corruption plunge Venezuela into chaos. Children in particular are suffering hardship. The film shows their harsh reality: violence, drugs, murder and hunger. In Maracaibo two women fight the misery. Carolina’s children’s home is an oasis amid the violence. Kiara flees to Columbia with her children. A film about a country that risks losing an entire generation. Pablo Bücheler

German title: LAND DER VERLORENEN KINDER. Writer: Juan Camillo Cruz, Marc Wiese. Camera: Alfredo de Juan. Editing: Laia Prat. Music: Alva Noto. Production: Dreamer Joint Venture Filmproduktion GmbH. Producer: Oliver Stoltz. Length: 92 min. International Sales: Java Films Distribution: Realfiction Verleih

Jury statement

Putting together a solid budget for a cinema documentary is no mean feat. Especially when the film is about poor people and, on top of that, takes place in one of the poorest countries in the world, which unfortunately is a topic that attracts less and less support among many public-service broadcasters. The producer Oliver Stoltz mastered this challenge superbly with his company ‘Dreamer Joint Venture.’

VENEZUELA: COUNTRY OF LOST CHILDREN (LAND DER VERLORENEN KINDER) tells of a world that normally eludes us and our imagination: we see children in Venezuela who are sent out to beg but still have to go to bed hungry; children with sharp weapons who get involved in the local gang wars because their lives have no other meaning. And we get to know mothers who transcend their limits to save these “lost children,” even from brutal police operations and death squads.

The adverse conditions under which Stoltz and his team made this film are impressive: filming on location would have been too dangerous without the protection of a gang of youths; professional camera equipment had to be smuggled over the border. In a country where foreign camera crews are watched at every turn, such a project can only succeed if the highest levels of conspiracy are maintained. To achieve this, the producer used a local crew.

Oliver Stoltz has demonstrated nerves of steel and deserves public recognition for successfully completing this film: in this case with the VFF Documentary Film Production Award 2024. 


The film at the festival

The winning film VENEZUELA: COUNTRY OF LOST CHILDREN will be screened at the 39th DOK.fest München in May 2024:

2 to 12 May at the Munich venues
6 to 20 May @home

The VFF Documentary Film Production Award will be presented at a festive award ceremony with film screening on Tuesday, 7 May 2024 at 8.00 pm at HFF Munich.

An award for passion and courage in production

The process of making a documentary film is particularly difficult to plan and often involves great uncertainty. Yet time and again producers demonstrate great courage and show special creativity and commitment in project development and film financing. With the presentation of the VFF Documentary Film Production Award at DOK.fest München, we honour the passionate commitment and the role of producers in the development of current cinema documentary projects.

The award is donated by the VFF Verwertungsgesellschaft der Film und Fernsehproduzenten mbH and is endowed with 7,500 euros. The award is the first in Germany to focus on the work of documentary film producers. In 2024 it will be awarded for the seventh time at DOK.fest München.

Here you can find out about the conditions of participation that had to be met.

Many thanks to our award donor and partner: