Price: $310.00

    Code: 2326

    Directed by Amanda Micheli & Isabel Vega
    2007, 40 minutes
    Purchase: $310 Classroom Rental: $125

    * Academy Award nominee, Best Documentary Short Subject *

    The contestants are hired killers, guerillas and thieves. The runner-up will cry when she doesn't get the tiara, wiping her tears with a tattooed hand. The beaming winner, resplendent in an evening gown and glittering jewels, will be crowned by the previous year's queen. But she won't be invited on a press tour as a role model for young girls; instead, she'll be escorted back to her jail cell. This is a beauty pageant like no other, and it happens every year in the women's penitentiary in Bogotá, Colombia.

    In this spellbinding and poignant documentary, La Corona (The Crown) - nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Short Subject category - filmmakers Isabel Vega and Amanda Micheli take viewers inside the prison's heavily fortified walls, where preparations are underway for this highly anticipated and fiercely competitive event.

    The film follows four very different contestants as they vie for the title of prison beauty queen: Maira, a steely 21-year-old former assassin; Viviana, a dreamy 24-year-old who has already served six years for guerilla activity that began after her husband took her son away from her; Angela, 23, a fiery professional thief and hustler from a black ghetto outside the city; and Angie, 22, the "new girl," a single mother who has just been arrested for gang-related robbery.

    Sadly, after the filming was completed and less than a year after her release, the pageant's beauty queen was found murdered on the streets of Bogotá, devastating evidence of the often life-threatening conditions for these young women. The film raises provocative questions about the dire conditions that may drive so many women to criminal activity. As the competition nears and suspense builds, the women explain in their own words what brought each of them to this place and discuss the lives and loved ones they've left behind. The security of life in prison can offer an ironic stability to their lives on the outside.

    Many women end up exploring relationships with women in prison. Two of the main subjects in the film have girlfriends "on the inside," which helps them combat their loneliness, but also complicates their identity as God-fearing women who are desperate to go home to their families.

    In Colombia, televised beauty pageants are extremely popular and have been known to get higher ratings than even World Cup soccer. National and local beauty pageants are often the centerpiece of cultural festivals, and little girls dream of one day being the queen of their village. But even in Colombia, a beauty pageant in prison is unusual.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Short Subject, 2007
    * Winner, Honorable Mention, Sundance Film Festival, 2008
    * Winner, Distinguished Short Documentary Award, International Documentary Association, 2008
    * Winner, Grand Jury Prize, Outstanding Documentary Short, Outfest, 2008
    * Winner, Audience Award, Outstanding Documentary Short, Outfest 2008
    * Winner, Best Short Film, Sarasota Film Festival, 2008
    * Official Selection, Hot Docs Film Festival, 2008
    * Official Selection, Full Frame Film Festival, 2008


    “Three and a Half Stars. Highly Recommended.” – Video Librarian

    “Highly recommended. Notably, La Corona presents the harsh conditions and stark reality for poverty stricken women in Colombia. With great hunger and little money, education, or guidance these women turned to dangerous means and suffered considerable consequences to survive, find love, and receive acceptance.” - Educational Media Reviews Online

    La Corona is a powerfully compelling documentary. A vivid portrait of the plight of women in prison and their unrelenting struggles for survival, connection, and dignity including establishing lesbian relationships within prisons and the anguish of separation that ensues upon release.” - Films for the Feminist Classroom