The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Spanish: La revolución no será transmitida), also known as Chávez: Inside the Coup, is a 2003 documentary focusing on events in Venezuela leading up to and during the April 2002 coup d’état attempt, which saw President Hugo Chávez removed from office for two days. With particular emphasis on the role played by Venezuela’s private media, the film examines several key incidents: the protest march and subsequent violence that provided the impetus for Chávez’s ousting; the opposition’s formation of an interim government headed by business leader Pedro Carmona; and the Carmona administration’s collapse, which paved the way for Chávez’s return. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised was directed by Irish filmmakers Kim Bartley and Donnacha Ó Briain. Given direct access to Chávez, the filmmakers intended to make a fly-on-the-wall biography of the president. They spent seven months filming in Venezuela, following Chávez and his staff and interviewing ordinary citizens. As the coup unfolded on 11 April, Bartley and Ó Briain filmed on the streets of the capital, Caracas, capturing footage of protesters and the erupting violence. Later, they filmed many of the political upheavals inside Miraflores, the presidential palace.
Bartley and Ó Briain conceived of the film after Bartley returned from documenting the aftermath of the 1999 Vargas mudslides for an Irish charity. Following a visit to Venezuela to determine the feasibility of a film project, the pair formed a production company and applied to Ireland’s film board, Bord Scannán na hÉireann (BSÉ), for a development grant. At BSÉ’s request, the filmmakers partnered with a more experienced producer and shot a short pilot to show to potential investors. Funding for the €200,000 production was provided by BSÉ and several European broadcasters. Bartley and Ó Briain shot more than 200 hours of material; editing focused on identifying footage that would make the film entertaining and drive the plot. It was at this stage that the film’s coverage narrowed to concentrate more on the coup attempt.
The film was positively received by mainstream film critics and won several awards. Reviewers cited the filmmakers’ unprecedented proximity to key events and praised the film for its “riveting narrative”; criticism focused on its lack of context and pro-Chávez bias. First shown on television in Europe and Venezuela in 2003, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised later appeared at film festivals and secured a limited theatrical release on the art house circuit. Independent activists held unofficial screenings, and Venezuelan government officials encouraged its circulation to build support for Chávez’s administration. The film is regularly shown on Venezuelan television, and in the capital it is often broadcast during “contentious political conjunctures”. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised paints Chávez in a favorable light, which has led to disputes over its neutrality and accuracy; particular attention is paid to its framing of the violence of 11–13 April, the filmmakers’ editing of the timeline, and the alleged omission of incidents and personnel. The film is variously cited as an accurate portrayal or a misrepresentation of the events of April 2002.