In Spain, was established the idea that people who lived in the countryside were yokels and that they should move to the cities to create industries. Today, this opinion has hardly changed, and a few remaining shepherds survive in rural areas trying to preserve an ancestral profession. While the rest of Spanish society tries to reach the level of European development, they struggle to maintain a lifestyle that they love. Six shepherds, women and man, from different generations, are raising their voices to protect their profession and the countryside life. With an intimate and empathetic narrative, led by the protagonists, they allow us travel with them throughout a year (2019-2020) in which events have occurred that no one could have imagined. A journey through their life philosophy that highlights the actual situation they suffer and how it silently affects society. About how some try to survive so that others can live well and how vocation reigns above all.
Nowadays most people work just to survive. Dissatisfied people who make a very good living working at something they are not passionate about. Talking about doing what we love, or loving what we do, is a process of exploration of ourselves.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of discovering some people who dedicate themselves body and soul to their craft despite its progressive extinction. My conversations with them reminded me of the value of vocation for meaning in life and happiness. They were the true essence of vocation and this is the concept I have tried to explore in The Shepherd's Path.
What began in its development as an ethnographic piece about the decline of the shepherd's craft evolved naturally into something social. I discovered that each of the people we lived with during the filming had a great strength. Their peculiar problems and experiences demanded to be told and shown. Simple and unknown people that I wanted to turn into the protagonists of this film.
The heart of this documentary are the characters. Six different stories. Six shepherds who reflect the idea of vocation through a very particular philosophy of life with a strong traditional base. Stubborn women and men with strong convictions, artisans whose families have dedicated themselves for centuries to the care of animals in the service of society.
I have tried to direct an emotional story full of words and images that intertwine. My concern is to show in a realistic and intimate way how they survive together with their families. What they have in common and what unites them beyond their flocks of sheep.
I wanted to portray a wide and realistic generational range. Both men and women. However, in the case of women, I have tried to give visibility to those who are both in the shadows and at the head of their businesses. They all have the same dignity and respect.
I have tried to approach the profession from close quarters, beyond the inspirational message, revealing both the virtues and the disagreements. On this path, I have found wisdom behind a web of very opposing thoughts. However, there are many points in common that call for the preservation of their existence and the defence of rural populations.
They are not illustrious figures. They are anonymous people to whom we have given a voice and who live according to their convictions. This personal dialogue that the documentary carries out with all of them, strives to show the different sides of their reality throughout a year as strange as 2019-2020.
Tackling my first feature-length documentary by living with them has been a journey of discovery and personal learning. I have found myself faced with a complex and fragile reality, a reflection, on numerous occasions, of an emptied Spain. Victims of global change. Inadvertent in the eyes of a centralised and well-off society. Sustained by a capitalist and materialistic economy.
My intention with this documentary is to make a call for reflection, so that anyone can ask themselves questions and generate their own opinions. That is why I believe that vocation, whatever profession it comes from, leads us along a common path, and can make us reflect on such complex and personal questions as: who are we? and what meaning do we want to give to our lives?
SILVIA PRADAS (Zaragoza, Spain 1990) She studied audiovisual communication at the San Jorge University in Zaragoza and later in film directing at the Escuela de Cine de Catalunya (ESCAC). From a very young age she developed an aptitude and sensitivity for painting, which she applies to each of her projects. He seeks the union between aesthetics and narrative through colour, composition and sound.
In 2015 she founded Crew Films, an audiovisual production company, with the aim of directing and producing fiction and documentary projects with which she truly feels represented. She has worked in both fiction and advertising.
In fiction, she has directed short films such as "Nosotros" (2020), a sober and elegant genre piece premiered at the 48th Huesca International Film Festival, and currently in distribution with around twenty national and international selections; or the award-winning experimental short film "Dust Dance" (2017) recognised for its authorial gaze focused on poetic and visual work. She also works as a storyboard illustrator in fiction and advertising, highlighting her work in the film "De tu Ventana a la Mía" (Chrysalis) by Paula Ortiz.
She has combined her work with a tenacious academic career. Since 2017 she has been an acting teacher, and since 2020 she has been a lecturer at the UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) teaching the subject of Audiovisual Production.
She is currently working on the development of her first fiction feature film "Lorién", the production design of the fiction feature film "Princesa" by Saúl Gallego and the distribution of this documentary feature film "La Senda del Pastor".
Tíitle: The Path of the Shepherd
Duration: 70 min.
Format: Digital 4K, Dolby Vision, Color, 2.39:1
Exhibition Format (Theatres): DCP 4K 2.39:1 Scope, 5.1
Executive Producer: Javier Llovería
Scriptwriter and director: Silvia Pradas
Production Manager: Camino Ivars
Director of photography: Juan Plaza Gómez
Editor: Iván Castell
Sound Design: Eloy Rodríguez
Music: Marc Jovani and Salil Bhayani
THE MAIN CHARACTERS
The lives of six shepherds with different managements give life to the documentary. Different points of view but only one vocation.
LORENA GENZOR, PASTOR IN EMPTY SPAIN
"In the villages strong minds are needed, what happens is that society is made to live differently, they educate you to live with all kinds of luxuries and in a village ..."
Shepherdess in a town in emptied Spain. At the age of 24, he decided to leave the city for a town to take care of a herd. Today, her 9-month-old son accompanies her on her tours of the mountain.
ALBERTO RIBA, PASTOR IN IBERIAN MOUNTAIN
"We are the last of the Mohicans and unfortunately, it goes very fast"
Alberto is a sensitive and intelligent man, fond of training sheepdogs. He worked for many years in a traditional way with his father. This was the turning point that made him realize that he had to change the way he worked and that of his family if he wanted to get ahead. In 2020 part of his farm has collapsed from the snow, losing part of the livestock and having to start over.
ANTONIO ENFEDAQUE, LIVESTOCK OF ESTEPARIA ZONE
"When all the development that is in Europe comes, the lowest paid jobs will be the first to stop doing"
He is the father of two children, stubborn and of firm convictions. He is capable of facing any problem, even if it means reinventing himself. He has a herd made up of more than two thousand sheep, and he runs his family farm together with his sons Ángel and Antonio. Recently he was almost on the verge of leaving the trade.
JOSE LUIS HERNÁNDEZ, FAMILY TRADITIONAL CATTLE
"The job of the shepherd is hard, it is a long time, and as you work with the animals, it is that in the end you are hooked"
Jose Luis is an affable and smiling person who would do anything to raise his sheep family and his sheep. Depopulation has affected the area and it has had to look for more jobs to combine grazing with.
LORENA PALACIO, PASTOR IN HIGH MOUNTAIN
"I have been studying abroad, living in a city, in a bigger place and no, I have realized that that does not suit me"
Lorena is a high mountain shepherdess. He is a sweet, brave person who has a deep love for his animals. After several comings and goings, he has found his place in the world, and has recently joined the trade together with several colleagues, with whom he forms a community to help each other.
JOAQUÍN GUILLAMON, TRASHUMANT PASTOR
"Life has changed and young people have another way of life, many people will know us through museums"
After five decades with his flock, walking more than 20 kilometers a day, he retires, leaving behind the job of a lifetime. He is a persistent and hardworking migrant, who has dedicated a lifetime for and for the sheep.
SELECTIONS AND AWARDS
-IV Ciclo Nacional de Cine y Mujeres Rurales.. 2021
-Blogos de Oro - Feature Film 2022
-Ecozine International Film Festival - Documentary 2022. Award for Best National Documentary Feature Film .
-Children's and Youth Film Festival - FICAIJ 2022
-LAZOS: Decentralized Film Festival - 2022