flamenco: an art that speaks to the soul, and frees the emotions


We started work on this documentary about six years ago with the filming of the graceful dance of a tiny girl, four years old at the time, called la Triana. Since then, for financial reasons we have been proceeding slowly - slowly but steadily. Any time we get money, we shoot; when we don't have money, we stop shooting and start looking for money!

We have now gotten more than three quarters of the way through principal photography. We have shot eight professional singers, three guitar soloists, two internationally touring dancers and two young up and coming dancers, plus many community performers and several very informative interviews with extremely knowledgeable people. We have also filmed most of the narration.

The performances we have shot include some of the best stars of traditional flamenco - because traditional flamenco is what interests us in this documentary: dancer Antonio el Pipa, singer-cantaor the late Manuel Agujetas (often simply called Agujetas), guitarist Diego del Morao, dancer María del Mar Moreno, singer-cantaora la Macanita, and many others including our associate director Antonio de la Malena.


In September of 2017, supported by a new grant from MAW (Media Art Works), guitarist Niño Jero el Periquín played us a lively and wonderful solo. In addition, we shot the singer/cantaora Tía Juana la del Pipa - a woman with a wonderful, rich voice and a very strong presentation. For both, we used a location in a vineyard lent to us by Bodega Gonzalez-Byass, maker of fino (and other) wine, a specialty of Jerez. ¡Olé Gonzalez Byass!

Then in the spring of 2018, we shot a great deal of the narration, as well as the performance of two young dancers, demonstrating that traditional flamenco is not a dying art. The dancers were Jairo Amaya, and la Paula - the latter only 13 years old. Both were accompanied by young singers, guitarists, and palmeros. We like youth!

In these and other scenes, we always interview the chief performers and have had our suspicions confirmed: almost all of the best flamencos in Jerez (and, we believe, in the rest of Andalucía) come from farm-working families. If they are too young to have worked in the fields themselves, their parents and grandparents did. Hard work is an important part of the traditional flamenco experience, just as the gitano community is.


So now, what's left? Well, we still have our spectacular "fin de fiesta," and one final solo. These, along with the completing the narration, and several smaller scenes, will finish off what is known as "principal photography."

Then, we have the great pleasure of engaging in that delightful process known as "post-production." For those of you unfamiliar with post-production, it involves a lot of work, mostly by technical people. Editing is a big part of it, but we've been editing as we go along so will not be starting from scratch. But there are also things known as sound sweetening, color correction, image correction - all those things that turn something rough around the edges into a beautiful work of film that audiences will flock to in droves.

Post-production also requires money to pay all those technicians, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, we have our sights focused on completing the shooting, and for that, we can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Before leaving this topic entirely, I want to thank all the people that have volunteered or donated to the project, and most especially, the non-profit Media Art Works (MAW) for providing consistent encouragement and significant funding to allow us to create this documentary. Couldn't do it without you!