• Berlinale Int'l Film Festival

  • IDFA Int'l Documentary Film Festival

  • Cinélatino - Rencontres de Toulouse

    Signis Award
  • Mar de Plata Int'l Film Festival

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Spanish with English subtitles

In 2010, 81 inmates died in a massive fire at the San Miguel prison in Chile’s capital city, Santiago. Inside, they were trapped behind bars. Outside, dozens of family members waiting for visiting hours to begin looked on helplessly as their loved ones shouted for help. The doors remained locked. Justice remains elusive as the trial fails to assign blame. With full access to the judicial files, this reconstruction sheds light on the utter failure of the prison administration, which housed twice as many prisoners as allowed.

We hear fragments from telephone conversations between prison officials and emergency services in which shocking and harrowing discussions occur about whether to cut open the locks. Survivors and relatives of the dead tell of how corruption and mismanagement erased the rights of detainees. The evidence gathered for the trial – the security camera footage, photos, news clips, and audio recordings from inside and outside the jail – brings the events to life and reveals the full scale of the tragedy.


“For his first feature film, Carbonell had privileged access to all the materials used during the investigation. What becomes evident is not only the terrible living conditions in the place, but also the manipulation of the evidence to ensure impunity. The director meticulously analyze these materials and expose them in the crudest and most direct way possible. The result is overwhelming.” – Diego Batlle, Otros Cines

About the Director
Francina Carbonnel is a director and scriptwriter. She graduated from the Film and Television program at the University of Chile with maximum distinction. She directed the autobiographical documentary After the Mountains (2013) and the short films The Inheritance (2014) and Tinnit Us (2015), which won first place in the international competition of videos of heritage cities organized by the OVPM and UNESCO. The Sky is Red is her debut feature.
She is also the director of the social project “Prison and Education” and is part of the investigation “Easter Island: Images recovered.”
Notes on Film
“The day of the fire, the country was speechless before the images that were appearing. They were unbearable images, which remained in the air. That feeling haunted me for years. I wondered about the value of those images, who had filmed them, what they wanted to show, and what others were missing.
After a three-year investigation and nine months of trial, the justice determined the acquittal of all accused, leaving a cause without responsibilities. The Sky is Red allows a rereading where the archives are questioned and displaced from a judicial dimension to a sensory one, constructing a journey through the structural violence involved in this dark episode.”
– Francina Carbonnell, Director