‘Culpable’ lead actor escapes from Mansilla de las Mulas jail, Leon

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A SHORT film entitled ‘Culpable’ (Guilty) made by prisoners premiered without its lead because he escaped from prison.

Serving a six-year sentence for drugs offences, the star of ‘Culpable’ was an inmate of the ‘respeto’ cellblock at the Mansilla de las Mulas jail in Leon, northern Spain, where prisoners accept strict rules regarding work and conduct in return for privileges.

Despite being a model prisoner, the would-be actor failed to return after a weekend leave even though he was due to return to Chile on probation in the New Year.  A warrant is now out for his arrest.

The film was shown on September 23 in honour of the patroness of prisons, Our Lady of Mercy, but the 36-year-old Chilean prisoner in the principal role was not present. The short, which took the 20 prisoners involved five months to film, needed to have some scenes cut to mask the lead actor’s absence and some close-ups were eliminated, said Rodolfo Herrero, the film director who volunteered to lead the project.

Happily, the film still made sense, he explained, especially as the more complex scenes, all of them involving the Chilean runaway, were shot at the beginning.

“I knew where I was going to be filming and I knew the limitations and bureaucracy involved but I didn’t expect the central character to run off,” Herrero admitted.

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