Spain is unique for its fiestas, the traditional rituals that are celebrated in the most weird and wonderful ways. These quasi-religious ceremonies have their origins in pagan times, and for an outsider the way Spaniards celebrate fiestas may seem strange, savage even, but for the participants they are more than normal — they are an essential part of life.
Identifying this uniquely Spanish trait as something worth promoting to the world, the Grupo Unido de Regional Turismo (GURT) sought to encourage some of the 75 million yearly visitors to the country to get off the beaten sun-tourist tail and get into the real and lesser-known Spain. They offered a grant for filmmaking teams to come to Spain and capture the fiestas and 50 Fiestas won it.
To be completely fair they were well out of their depth.
GURT armed the team with a meagre budget and list of very vague instructions and sent them across Spain, to its tiny villages and slightly bigger towns, across mountains and through the deserts and beaches, 50 Fiestas found themselves consistently thrust into bizarre, outrageous and exciting situations, always confused, but never far from the locals’ hospitality and unwavering desire to share the joy of jumping over babies, throwing fire ants/turnips at each other, and all the other rituals that make up these parties so unique.
CONGRATULATIONS ¡VIVA ESPAÑA! showcases these awesome spectacles as well as the picturesque country and charming people who host them. The project was shot as a documentary within a documentary, to also show the inner workings of the sometimes bungling team and get their more candid observations of the mayhem unfolding. The dynamic of the two protagonists provides for an easily engaged travel narrative, and the places they go, people they meet and spectacles they participate in will fire up even the most latent wanderlust.