Private Project

Empalaos- Valverde de la Vera

The processes of transformation, experimented by people within the framework of a ritual, creates a special world, which has barely been dealt with visually before. The transformations usually happen at night, in private and hidden spaces.

These preparatory moments hold basic keys to understand where a person is in their daily world and where it ends. The purpose is to prove one´s own willpower, after accepting to be a protagonist of the ritual.

In the Empalaos of Valverde de la Vera, one of the trascendental, intimate and secret moments, is when the “offered” is wrapped by his loved ones and is prepared for the ritual.
The transition, when the penitent goes out to the streets of the town, in front of neighbours and spectators, is an intense moment in this religious celebration. It has rarely been covered, due to its intimate nature.

Throughout the preparation of the penitent, contained emotions, tenderness and body language create a collective solidarity between everyone involved. This collective solidarity transmits to the penitent all the strength necessary to carry out their promise

  • OjoVago Producciones
  • Iria Sanjurjo
  • AntropoDocs & Films
  • Iria Sanjurjo y Paco Lajo
  • Iria Sanjurjo
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 4, 2018
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    January 23, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Golden Tree International Documentary Festival, 2019
    Frankfurt am Main
    Official Selection
  • Play-Doc Tui, International Film Festival, 2019
    Tui, Pontevedra, Galicia
    April 5, 2019
    Spain, Premiere
    Panorama Gallego, Show, not competition
  • Festival Iberoamericano De Cortometrajes Abc, 2018

    November 13, 2018
  • 12 Months Film Festival

    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • AntropoDocs & Films
    Country: Spain
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Iria Sanjurjo

Film and video editor with more than 10 years of experience.

Graduated in Information Sciences and specialized in film and video directing, she has attended numerous international seminars on theory and documentary methodology.

Experienced video editor she has worked in several films and medium-length documentaries, fiction medium-length films, movie trailers, news reports, advertising and music video-clips.

She is currently directing her first personal project, a documentary series recording ancestral festivals and rituals
of the Iberian Peninsula and part of Europe,
mixing visual anthropology with the nonfiction genre.

"Empalaos" (2019) is the first medium-length film of the series.

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