A film by Jorge Thielen Armand
24 min.
Venezuela, Canada

+ Jury Prize for Best Documentary Short, Cine Las Americas IFF
+ Honorable Mention, Caracas Doc
+ 39. Margaret Mead Film Festival
+ Sarasota IFF
+ RIDM - Montreal Int. Documentary Festival
+ FICMA Int. Environmental Film Festival - Barcelona, Spain
+ Green Film Festival in Seoul
+ American Documentary Film Festival
FESANCOR - Festival Chileno Int. de Cortometrajes
Festival Internacional de Cine de Guayaquil - Ecuador
Cinemaissi - Helsinki, Finnland
Green Screen - Trinidad & Tobago
The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital - USA
Patagonia Eco Film Fest - Argentina
Festival Trastevere - Rome, Italy
Venezuela en Corto – Venezuela
FESCIVE - Venezuela
Muestra de Cine Documental - Venezuela
Festival de Cine Entre Largos y Cortos - Venezuela
CineForo - Venezuela

Dr. Jorge Armand Navarro
Mireya Tabuas
Mario Gonzáles
Andrés Salazar
Raul Grioni

PRODUCERS Lorenzo Signoretti, Jorge Thielen Armand
CO-PRODUCERS Irina Grozavescu, Samantha Van der Beek
CINEMATOGRAPHY Hauk Björgvinsson
MUSIC Rob Teehan
SOUND DESIGN Brennan Curtis

La Faena
Sivax Pictures




On a remote Venezuelan island lie the ruins of Nueva Cádiz, the first European city in the Americas. Abandoned by the Spanish in the 16th century, the island now has a population of 51—all descendants of the slaves who built the city. Recent attempts by the Venezuelan government to revitalize the historic island have been foiled by mismanagement and insufficient funding, and the local community of fishermen is left to protect the site and their way of life. 

On a remote Venezuelan island, a community of fishermen fights to protect the ruins of the first European city in the Americas. The inhabitants of Cubagua Island are the last guardians of the ruins of Nueva Cádiz. In 1515, this colonial city was a slaving centre based on pearl exploitation, but after 20 years the pearls became depleted and the Spaniards abandoned the city. This heritage site has since been forgotten and the island now has a population of 51— all of whom are descendants of the slaves who built the city. In 2007, the Chavez administration promised to revitalize their historic island.

“The Cubagua Project" called for the construction of a school, a drinking water solution, and employment opportunities through the restoration of the ruins. This was announced in the press and the archaeologist Jorge Armand was hired to excavate the ruins; but the funds for the project mysteriously vanished. Halfway through his excavation, Armand was fired and the inhabitants were left without hope for the future. Officials refuse to divulge how the money was spent, playing into the cycle of exploitation of Cubagua’s natives. 

Following Armand’s last visit to Cubagua and through the testimonies of those who have tried to protect this important site for humanity, Flor de la Mar is a glimpse into this vanishing world, and a window into the problems that Venezuela faces today related to over-dependency on oil exports. If the depletion of pearls caused the island of Cubagua to become abandoned, could oil also put a final end to Venezuela?