On the Road to San Juan

Each year during the month of January approximately 3 million pilgrims visit the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos, one of the most important religious sites in Mexico. Guided only by their faith, love and devotion, and facing tremendous physical and emotional adversity, each pilgrim reveals their personal motivations and interpretations of what brotherhood, faith and God means to them in the 21st century. What transpires over the course of nine days is a magical fellowship; one part pilgrimage, one part carnival, and one part fiesta, that can only occur in a country as complex, socially diverse, contradictory and tolerant as Mexico.

  • Daniel Kandell
  • Michael Amici
  • Daniel Kandell
  • Michael Amici
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  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 18 minutes 16 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 30, 2021
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  • Shooting Format:
    Full HD video
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Director Biography - Daniel Kandell, Michael Amici

Michael Amici is an award-winning photojournalist with an eye for capturing unusual and surprising moments. Michael's photojournalism background and his personable nature allow him to achieve a rare intimacy and candidness with his subjects. Michael has walked the pilgrimage from San Miguel de Allende to San Juan de los Lagos for 13 years and what began as a simple photographic exercise, evolved into a perennial passion project, resulting in his first feature length documentary.

Daniel Kandell is a writer, director and producer of independent documentaries. Daniel has served as both Executive Producer and consultant on 36 short documentaries that went on to compete in various international film festivals, including "Bajo las brasas" (2015), which was selected as part of the Short Film Program for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. "On the Road to San Juan" is Daniel's documentary feature debut.

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Director Statement

Michael Amici, the film's co-director, producer and cinematographer, is a professional photographer who has been walking the pilgrimage for the past thirteen years and documenting it through his still photography. The documentary is a love letter to our beloved Mexico, a country that we both call home and where our parents were born and raised. We believe that the documentary is an accurate portrayal of modern Mexican society and that it depicts the spirituality, strength and genuine kindness of the Mexican people.

We feel that today, more than ever, there needs to be a better understanding of Mexican and Latin American culture, as we have recently seen a troubling amount of misinformation, as the mainstream media is often focused on only the darkest and most sensationalized aspects of Mexican culture. Therefore it was very important for us to share another side of Mexico and we hope that our documentary will help provide a unique window into an authentic experience and journey that is both engaging and transformative.