Richard Ladkani
Richard Ladkani

The Devil's Miner

The Devil's Miner is the story of 14 year-old Basilio Vargas and his 12 year-old brother Bernardino as they work in the Bolivian silver mines of Cerro Rico. Through the children's eyes, we encounter the world of devout Catholic miners who sever their ties with God upon entering the mountain.

It is an ancient belief that the devil, as represented by hundreds of statues constructed in the tunnels, determines the fate of all who work within the mines. Raised without a father and living in virtual poverty on the slopes of the mine with their mother, the boys assume many adult responsibilities. They must work to afford the clothing and supplies vital to their education.

Basilio believes only the mountain devil's generosity allows them to earn enough money to attend the new school year. Without an education, the brothers have no chance to escape their destiny in the silver mines.

Team Partner
Kief Davidson, director/producer
Producer / Production Details
Urban Landscapes in co-production with Provobis Film Hamburg and Polar Star Films for PBS, BR, ARTE, ORF, TVE, 3Sat
Top Awards/Festivals
Special Mention for New Documentary Filmmaker at Tribeca Film Festival (2005)
FIPRESCI Award at Hot Docs (2005)
Silver Hugo Award for Best Documentary Feature at Chicago Film Festival (2005)
Best Documentary Award at Premio Lessina Festival (2005)
Estonian People's Award at Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival (2006)
Training Programme
Masterschool 2001