Rural depopulation has been one of the most significant social conflicts in Spain for the last two generations. A small village in the north of the country have found a way to fight it.

The fight against disappearance has been one of the most significant social conflicts in rural Spain for the last two generations, despite being a fight almost silenced. In Silio, a small village in the wooded Valley of Iguña (northern Spain), an old tradition deeply rooted in Celtic and naturalistic cults has been the way to endure as a community, preserve identity and pass on its heritage and collective memory to the youngest generations.

La Vijanera, a dramatized performance of a hunting ritual, has become a tool of resilience to fight depopulation, a phenomenon that affects over 50% of rural municipalities in Spain which are facing extinction due to a rapidly aging population and the forced exodus of the youth to bigger cities. This depopulation process is ultimately depriving the locals of their right to remain in the land of their family.

“The Long Hunt” is an ongoing documentary project that explores how the naturalistic and pagan roots of regional folklore and a traditional lifestyle, used as tools for community cohesion and the transmission of memory, coexist with a much starker reality: communities hanging on to their identity and their right to remain and work in their ancestral land in a context of depopulation, deindustrialization and economic depression.


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