Mudos Testigos
Official competition                   

Mudos Testigos

Silent Witnesses

Luis OspinaJerónimo Atehortúa

Silent Witnesses is an imaginary journey through the history of Colombia (and its cinema) during the convulsive first half of the 20th century, using solely the surviving footage of Colombian silent cinema. This melodrama shows the impossible love story between Efraín and Alicia as it runs through the political turmoil of the first decades of the 20th century in Colombia. What begins with Efraín falling in love with Alicia, a woman engaged to marry Uribe, a powerful and vengeful strongman, quickly develops into a revealing journey into the heart of the jungle, where Efraín will witness the humiliating conditions of the peasants in the south of the country and the birth of an armed rebellion.


«In Colombia, only 12 feature silent films were made. Of those, 2 are fully preserved, 2 are lost and only fragments remain from the rest. Documentary silent films are far more scattered and it is hard to pin down the exact number. All in all, about 4 hours of documentary footage is preserved. Silent Witnesses is solely made with these images. This is a work with and about memory, which is at the same time a work with and about the future: a Utopian work.
Archives are kept with the hope of surviving the present of their original creation in order to reappear in the future. They are time machines that not only document a past time, but also project the past into the future, liberating its hidden forces. Archive materials are normally seen as fruit of their time. Their common use constraints them to their time of creation.
The ultimate purpose of Mudos Testigos is to work with the images of the past in order to liberate the utopian spirit that is dormant in them. The free use of the footage will charge it with new energies and emotions.»

— Luis Ospina



Colombia, Francia








Luis Ospina, Jerónimo Atehortúa, Juan Mora


Juan Mora, Federico Atehortúa


Colombia: Jerónimo Atehortúa, Juan Mora, Lina González | France: Eva Chillón


Carlos Quebrada

Directors’ biographies

Luis Ospina studied film at UCLA and became one of the founding fathers of the Cali Group (Grupo de Cali), alongside Carlos Mayolo and Andrés Caicedo. He directed many fiction features and from 2007 until his death in 2019, he was the Artistic Director of the Cali International Film Festival.

Jerónimo Atehortúa studied film at the Universidad del Cine in Argentina, and Bela Tarr’s film factory MFA in Bosnia. He produced various the documentary features. In 2020, he published the book Los cines por venir.