The Writer from a Country without Bookstores






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The Writer from a Country without Bookstores.

Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel is the most translated writer from Equatorial Guinea but he had to flee the country in 2011, after going on a hunger strike against Teodoro Obiang’s dictatorship, the longest lasting in the world. Since then, he lives as a refugee in Spain, the former colonial power, where his work is largely ignored. He feels he has to travel back to his country despite of the risks, as he is one of the most prominent intellectuals against the regime. With him and his books we embark on a journey to one of the most isolated African countries.


Co-director of the award-winning documentary Tchindas (2015), nominated at African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and broadcasted at PBS (US), he also directed Double Epidemic (2015) and Freshwater Fish (in Saltwater) (2018).
As a writer, he published three books that were also translated into Chinese and Korean.


  • Title
    The Writer from a Country without Bookstores
  • Rights
    Festivals, Sales
  • Country
  • Year
  • Length
    79′, col.

  • Director 
    Marc Serena
  • Screenplay 
    Marc Serena
  • Editing
    Emanuele Tiziani
  • Photography
    Josep Gutiérrez

  • Animations and graphic identity
    Taller Estampa
  • Music
    Concha Buika, Pau de Nut,
    Jamin & Negro Bey
  • Sound
    Verònica Font
  • Cast
    Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel

  • Producer
    Marc Serena, Toni Espinosa (co-producer)
  • Production
    Fora de quadre, Toner Media

  • Dox in Vitro Piešťany 2018 (Work in Progress)
  • Frontlab Aosta 2018 (Work in Progress)
  • Setubal 2019 (Work in Progress)
  • Bolivialab La Paz 2019 (Work in Progress)
  • Seminci Valladolid 2019 – Spanish Doc Competition
  • L’Alternativa Independent Film Festival Barcelona 2019 – Special Screenings
  • Gollut Festival Figueres 2019
  • Festival Rizoma de Cine Award Madrid 2019 – Documentary Competition
  • Sala Numax Santiago de Compostella 2019
  • Filmoteca Navarra Pamplona 2020
  • Akuna Zentroa Alhóndiga Bilbao 2020
  • Filmoteca Catalunya Barcelona 2020
  • CineLatino Tūbingen and Stuttgart 2020 – Competition
  • Atlantida Film Festival Palma de Mallorca 2020 – Competition
  • International Unseen Film Festival Film Sozialak Bilbao 2020 – Official Selection
  • Auditori Sala de Núria Queralbs 2020
  • Frankfurt Book Fair 2020
  • Casa America Barcelona 2020
  • Auditori La Unió Teià 2020
  • Arxiu Nacional de Catalunya Sant Cugat del Vallès 2020
  • Cineclub Cassà de la Selva 2020
  • Cinespaña Toulouse 2020 – Documentary Competition
  • Festival Punto Doc Puerto de Sagunto 2020
  • DIG Awards Modena 2020
  • Medimed Sitges 2020
  • London Spanish Book & Zine Fair 2020
  • Alexandria Mediterranean Countries Film Festival 2020
  • African Diaspora Film Festival New York 2020
  • FCAT African Film Festival Tarifa and Tangier 2020
  • Barcelona Human Rights Film Festival 2020

  • Goya Awards 2020 – Candidate Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Director,
    Best Editing, Best Photography, Best Sound, Best Original Song
  • Gollut Festival Figueres 2019 – Best Feature Film, Audience Award
  • Platino Awards 2020 – Candidate
  • DIG Awards Modena 2020 – Sepcial Mention Reportage Long
  • Alexandria Mediterranean Countries Film Festival 2020 – Special Award

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