The Chilean Building

The Chilean Building
Educational/Institutional DVD: $298
Order via credit card or via check/wire/money order. Rent for screenings.
A film by Macarena Aguiló. Chile/France/Cuba/The Netherlands, “El edificio de los Chilenos,” 2010, 99 mins. In Spanish with English subtitles.
For classroom use in: Child Development, Children, Family Relations, Human Rights, International Affairs, Latin American Studies, Political Science

About the Film
This remarkable film tells a story never before documented: While their parents battled the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, a group of children were raised, first in Europe and then in Cuba, safely and communally. The 20 adults who supervised Project Home saw over sixty children through to adulthood, children whose mothers and fathers—members of the leftist organization Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR)—fought for the freedom of their homeland, many never to be seen again. For the men and women in The Chilean Building, patriotic duty took another form—child-care rather than warfare; these adoptive, communal parents assumed responsibility for their charges for years to come. In this remarkable documentary, director Macarena Aguiló, herself a product of Project Home, provides an intimate, behind-the-scenes examination of a grand and surprising social and political experiment.

About the Filmmaker
Born in 1971 in Chile, Macarena Aguiló studied audio-visual communication. In 1997, she started work as an art director for film and television. In 2003, she began working on a documentary about her unusual childhood growing up as part of Project Home, a communal family for the children of underground Chilean rebels who were fighting the Pinochet dictatorship. The Chilean Building, which documents that upbringing, is her first film.

In the Press
“This fascinating documentary outlines the history of the Proyecto Hogar or Project Homes in Europe and Cuba which became home and refuge for over sixty children during the late seventies while their parents risked their lives in Chile fighting for freedom against the Pinochet dictatorship. The film director, Macarena Aguiló, gives a very penetrating and personal look at the homes since she herself was one of the children who spent her formative years there separated from her parents. The documentary examines both the benefits and the shortcomings of the Project Home and the long-term effects of the parental separation. …This intriguing film explains a dimension of the conflict in Chile from the viewpoint of the children and sheds a new light on the sacrifices of the leftists and their families whose sheer determination to fulfill their idealistic dreams of creating a utopian society led them to make extreme personal sacrifices.”—Anthropology Review Database

★★★½ “Because Aguiló interviewed dozens of her peers, she ends up presenting a balanced perspective on events, free from either bitterness or rosy-hued delusion. Highly Recommended.”—Video Librarian

“Macarena Aguiló’s fascinating first-person documentary chronicles the fate of broken leftist families during Pinochet’s reign.”—Eric Hynes, The Village Voice

“4.5/5 Stars! Entirely engaging… a persuasive and affecting presentation of a little known aspect of the history of Chile’s revolutionary movement.”—Jennifer Merin,

“An intimate and engaging personal history that is broadened by shared experiences and circumstances to transcend the individual and instead represent a nation’s difficult history in microcosm.”—Basil Tsiokos, What (Not) to Doc

“9/10 Stars! [A] superb documentary…at once evocative and unnerving, a look back at a mostly unknown history.”—Cynthia Fuchs, Pop Matters

“Telling a story that happened in the past doesn’t have to be just talking heads. Once in a while, a filmmaker finds an innovative way to structure their doc, using striking imagery, narration, or creative editing–in combination with interviews. Such is the case with El Edificio de los Chilenos (The Chilean Building)…”—Vanessa Erazo, Indiewire

Selected Festivals & Awards
Merit in Film Award, Latin American Studies Association Film Festival
Best Documentary, New York International Latino Film Festival
Official Selection, Festival Internacional Documentales Santiago Chile (FIDOCS)
Official Selection, DOK Leipzig
Official Selection, DOCS Barcelona
Official Selection, Thessaloniki Doc
Official Selection, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)

Watch the Trailer

Press Material
Click to download “The Chilean Building” Press Kit
Click thumbnails for high-res press photos: