Cielo is a cinematic reverie on the crazy beauty of the night sky, as experienced in the Atacama Desert, Chile, one of the best places on our planet to explore and contemplate its splendour. Director Alison McAlpine’s sublime nonfiction film drifts between science and spirituality, the arid land, desert shores and lush galaxies, expanding the limits of our earthling imaginations. Planet Hunters in the Atacama's astronomical observatories and the desert dwellers who work the land and sea share their evocative visions of the stars and planets, their mythic stories and existential queries with remarkable openness and a contagious sense of wonder. A love poem for the night sky, Cielo transports us to a space, quiet and calm, within which we can ponder the infinite and unknown.

Cielo Night Sky Movie

Subjects: Astronomy, Psychology and Human Behavior, Religion

“One of the Best Documentaries of 2018 (So Far). A cinematic rumination on the majesty of everything that surrounds us.”

– Nick Schager, Esquire

“Eye-popping. Exquisite. The images in the film are unmatched by any Hollywood blockbuster. Revealing a generosity, zeal and delight here, (the film) suggests the cosmos may not be as cold as some think.”
– Jordan Hoffman, Village Voice

“A heady brew of science and poetry. The night sky above the Atacama Desert in Chile (is) an unusually pure spot to see the heavens - a treasured site for astronomers and stargazers.” 
– Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“CIELO is the very definition of a tone poem. The true stars of the film - terrible pun intended - are McAlpine’s images of the sky. A sweepingly visual film.” 
– Anna Storm, Film Journal

“A rapturous act of cinematic contemplation. Should entrance all those who enter its unique atmosphere. Breathtaking time-lapse images of the sky. Vistas… (that) convey the ecstatic and daunting beauty of our universe. This majestic movie… looks up in order to look within.”
– Nick Schager, Variety

“A star-laden travel movie like no other. No planetarium could hope to replicate the awe-inspiring spectacle that is Alison McAlpine’s CIELO. The bespangled heavens above the Andes, which the director-narrator contemplates with awe worthy of a Romantic poet, is complemented in the film by the rugged hills, arid plains, lunar landscapes, and Pacific shores. Gaze at McAlpine’s film and drink in the mystery and realities of a place where, as she says, ‘the sky is more urgent than the land.’”
– Graham Fuller, The Culture Trip

“Numerous images of transcendent beauty. A visual symphony of the moon, stars, sun and clouds as they move through the wild blue yonder. Seen on a big screen, these images…have a transporting power that comes close to approximating what it must be like to actually stand in Atacama, gazing up in awe. Even the Milky Way itself rotates through the heavens with breathtaking clarity.”
– Keith Uhlich, The Hollywood Reporter

Subjects: Astronomy, Anthropology, Indigenous Studies

Institutional Licensing Options

DVD with PPR: $349

DVD with Digital Site License: $499

DVD with Digital Site License + Public Performance Rights: $599

Institutional Licensing Options

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Distributor: Juno Films
Director: Alison McAlpine
Writer: Alison McAlpine
Duration: 78 min
Language: English, Spanish, French
Closed Captioned