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, and two internationally touring dancers plus many community performers and several very informative interviews with extremely knowledgeable people.

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), we continued shooting. For one important scene, guitarist Niño Jero el Periquín played us a 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. She sang in an old-style farm workers quarters, while her companions beat out the rhythm, the compás, on a table top. The location was lent to us by the Bodega Gonzalez-Byass, maker of fino (and other) wine, a specialty of Jerez. ¡Olé Gonzalez Byass!

Tía Juana sang both a solo solea por bulerias, and some straight bulerias which inspired first one, and then a second, of her companions to get up and dance, like in the old days when hundreds of people worked in the fields to bring in the harvest. After a day's work was done, the gitano farm workers would relax by singing and dancing flamenco.

Other scenes we shot included one in the mines of La Unión, the fish market in Jerez de la Frontera, and an exciting scene I think of as the "assassin's scene" which we shot out on a country road. All three of these will accompany some of the singing and add richness to the documentary.


So now, what's left? Well, we'll add performances by young professionals to emphasize that the tradition continues on, and then we'll shoot a spectacular "fin de fiesta." These, along with the all-important 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!