The Devils Miner

  • The Devils Miner - Berg des Teufels (German title)
Documentary | 2004 | 3sat, arte, BR [de], ORF [at], PBS [us] | Austria, Germany, USA

Shooting data

Number of shooting days30
LocationsPotosi, Bolivien

Project data

Length of movie82
Picture formatTV 16:9 (1 : 1,78)

    Brief synopsis

    “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, which date back to the sixteenth century. 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 with their mother on the slopes of the mine, the boys assume many adult responsibilities. They must work to afford the clothing and supplies vital to their education. Basilio believes only the mountain devils generosity will allow them to earn enough money to continue the new school year. Without an education, the brothers have no chance to escape their destiny in the silver mines.


    Camera Department2nd unit dop Tobias Corts
    Director's DepartmentdirectorKief Davidson
    Director's DepartmentdirectorRichard Ladkani
    Sound Departmentproduction sound mixer Tobias Corts

    Distributing companies

    Salzgeber & Co. Medien GmbH [de]


    Award winnerYearAwardCategory 
    Richard Ladkani2005Tribeca Film FestivalBester Dokumentarfilm (Lobende Erwähnung)Winner
    Richard Ladkani2005FIPRESCI - Hotdocs TorontoBester DokumentarfilmWinner
    Richard Ladkani2005Deutscher KamerapreisBeste Kamera (Lobende Erwähnung)Winner
    Richard Ladkani2005Jerusalem FilmfestivalFreedom of Spirit AwardWinner
    Richard Ladkani2005Chicago Film FestivalSilver Hugo AwardWinner
    Richard Ladkani2005Dirsector Guild of America (DGA) AwardsBest DocumentaryNominated
    Richard Ladkani2005Leipziger Film FestivalBester DokumentarfilmNominated
    Richard Ladkani2005Europäischer FilmpreisBester DokumentarfilmNominated
    Richard Ladkani2005AFI Los Angeles Film FestivalBest DocumentaryNominated
    Richard Ladkani2005Woodstock Film FestivalBest DocumentaryWinner


    Theatre releaseGermanyThursday, 15.12.2005
    Theatre releaseAustriaThursday, 15.12.2005
    Theatre releaseSwitzerlandThursday, 30.12.2004