top of page



Women of the Mine (Mujeres de la mina) provides an intimate portrait of three women that live and work at the mines of Cerro Rico in Potosi, Bolivia. At an elevation of over 13,000 feet, Potosi is one of the highest cities in the world. Nearby stands the Cerro Rico de Potosí mine, the world’s largest silver deposit. The mine is the symbol of colonial plunder. The population worked and suffered while unimaginable riches were extracted. The mines have existed since the middle of the 16th century. Known as “the mountain that eats men,” historians believe that up to 8 million miners died in Cerro Rico since its beginning. The average life expectancy of the miners is 40 years.

In this society, it is the women whose lives are the most cursed, precarious and tenacious. Most are widows struggling to support their families. Women are not permitted in the mines, the males believe they bring bad luck, so they work outside the mines, hammering the rock on the side of the mountain.

Women of the Mine profiles three remarkable women and tells us their stories of struggle, resistance and courage.

Domitila Chungara – World famous labor leader and feminist, Domitila led the struggle of miners and women in Bolivia.

Lucía Armijo – worker, miner, leader and single mother of six children, Lucia shows us the mines and tells us about her life in the Cerro Rico.

Francisca Gonzalez – Miner and the granddaughter, daughter and widow of miners, Francisca supports her family by hammering stone by stone in her struggle to change the future of her grandchildren.

Eduardo Galeano - the acclaimed Uruguayan writer adds more insight as he explains in his eminent poetic style the daily life that these women face.


Malena Bystrowicz and Loreley Unamuno were born in Buenos Argentina in 1978 and 1980 respectively. They met in 1998 when they were studying at the Art Institute Film of Avellaneda (IDAC). Since then they have shared interests, projects and an intense friendship. Both made their way into photography and documentary film.

Malena is a photographer and a documentary filmmaker. She has directed the following documentaries:
Picketers (Piqueteras) 2002
Holes in the Roof (Agujeros en el Techo) 2007

Loreley has a degree in Audiovisual Arts Education from the National University of San Martín (UNSAM). She then graduated from the National School of Experimentation and Filmmaking (ENERC) with a specialty in Cinematograhy. Loreley has worked on several short and feature national films as the director of photography. Women of the Mine is Loreley’s feature documentary directing debut.


Grand Prize Documentary Competition, Award for Emerging Directors, World Catholic Association Communication Jury Award
16th The International Human Rights Film Festival (FICDH), Buenos Aires, Argentina
Feminist Gaze Award Winner – The Film Festival of Women MARIALIONZA, San Felipe, Venezuela
•Grand Prize “Prospectives of Gender” – 7th LiberCine International Festival of Sexual and Gender Diversity, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Pukańawi Eye of Latin American Award – 10th International Festival of Human Rights, Bolivia
Santiago Alvarez Grand Prize, Best Direction, Best Photography, EICTV Award Winner,
Frank País Garcia University of Pedagogical Sciences Award
14th International Documentary Film Festival “Santiago Álvarez in Memoriam”, Cuba
5th International Film Festival for Gender Equality, “Women in Focus,” Argentina
7th International Festival of Film and Video Alternative and Community "EYE TO SANCOCHO,” Bogotá, Colombia
6th International Unseen Film Festival “Film Sozialak,” Spain
6th Festival of Indigenous Peoples, Film Forum of Valparaiso, Chile
7th The Image of Peoples Film Festival, Ibarra, Ecuador
1st “Women’s Director International Film Festival, New Delhi, India
5th Festival of Political Cinema Directed by Women, Madrid, Spain
33rd International Film Festival of Uruguay, Uruguay Foundation of Cinema, Montevideo, Uruguay
32nd Conference of Latin-American Cinema, Bordeaux, France
17th South American Film Encounters, Marseille, France
Festival of Cinema Latin American Studies Association (LASA), San Juan, Puerto Rico
The Workers Unite Film Festival, New York, NY
Mia Film Festival (Mostra Internacional da Amazônia), Manaus, Brazil
11th The Latin American Film festival of Finland, Helsinki, Finland
4th Human Rights Film Festival of Asturias, Spain


Catalog # EPF16001 ● ISBN: 978-1-930545-32-8 ● NTSC

62 Minutes ● Copyright 2014 ● Spanish & Aymara, English Subtitles